The day after my wedding last year, my Father-in-Law stopped by our home. High from our wedding and finishing packing for our honeymoon, I'll never forget what he said to us, as his words were exactly what I had so badly been wanting to hear: "You guys did such a great job." He said it over and over; how beautiful the day was, how happy guests were, but most importantly, what an outstanding job we did planning our special day.
Planning a wedding is no easy task and I did not realize how much of an impact his comment would have on me until it was said out loud. The preparation can take both a mental and physical toll on couples, as it did us at times. Whether you have a wedding Coordinator by your side, or not, planning a wedding is a commitment that most people have no idea how grueling, yet rewarding the experience is.
This gratitude by my Father-in-Law stood out to me because after months of planning, it was reassuring to know that the effort we extended for our wedding was noticed, appreciated and well received by friends and family.
So often, people think being a guest at a wedding is expected. I do not believe that, I think it is one of the greatest honors someone can receive. A couple is choosing you to be apart of one of the most sacred days of their lives- a day they will cherish forever and you will always have the memory of being witnessed to.
After going through the experience of my own wedding, there a few things that I do differently as a guest:
I RSVP as soon as I receive an invitation- knowing the anticipation and stress it puts on a couple awaiting RSVPs, I no longer am ‘that guest’ who is being tracked down for my attendance.
I bring a handwritten card (whether or not I've sent a gift separately). I do this because one of the most meaningful parts of our wedding was not opening gifts, but rather reading the cards filled with our friends and families well wishes. Their letters warmed my heart and I want couples at weddings I attend to feel this same love for allowing me to be there for them.
Lastly, I make sure to tell the couple getting married, "Thank you for having me." To me these are some of the most important words you can hear on your wedding day. And in the visit following their wedding, I make sure to tell them job well done! Pointing out what I loved about their day. Nothing feels better than hearing your guests rave about food, music, your dress, whatever it was that they really loved! I know those words will go a long way as they did for me.
All Photography by Riv & Rose
Here’s to being a better guest!
To all the mothers out there- we love you, we honor you and we hope you have a fabulous Mother's Day. Know that you make the world a better a place and fill our hearts with comfort and joy.
Vanity Affair Events
TedxPortland put on its seventh annual event this past Saturday at the Keller Auditorium, and I was lucky enough to be the attendee to represent Vanity Affair Events. As I walked up to the doors of the Auditorium, I felt an overwhelming sense of excitement as I was about to be granted access to the minds of some of Portland’s most creative thinkers. I had no expectations as I organized my personal belongings and got comfortable in my seat. I figured I would listen to this group of chosen individuals talk about their hard earned success and well deserved accomplishments, and maybe find the motivation to tackle some of my own projects; that I would leave the event more knowledgeable than I had been before I sat down. And maybe, just maybe, I would hear an idea worth spreading. What I did not realize at the time, was that it would not be an idea worth spreading, but perhaps a deeper discovery I would like to share with all of you.
“Travel more, spend less.” “If you can dream it, you can build it.” “Stop chasing. Start doing.” These were the kind of messages that were conveyed throughout the day. Speaker after speaker, the audience was built up to leave the Keller Auditorium with enough confidence and inspiration to tackle the world’s biggest problems. So why could I not stop thinking about LOVE? Of all things – LOVE!
As each speaker stood on stage and spoke about vastly different topics – robotics, virtual reality, the 9th planet, travel, knitting (yes you heard me, knitting) there was one common denominator. Love. As each speaker told their story, the story that had gotten them to this very stage, they unfolded this beautiful underlying message of love and support. Sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, partners, friends, family, and colleagues provided the support that eventually carried each person to their highest achievement. And it was clear, not a single speaker made it to that stage alone. As I sat in my seat, alone, I could not help but think about how I too had made it here. I thought about the overwhelming love and support I have received from those around me. I thought about the relationships I had built, the friendships I helped form, and the everlasting bonds that were a result of all of this. And then I thought about us – Vanity Affair Events. How what we call “work”, isn’t work at all. It’s a gift. A gift we have been given to help spread the love. Every single day, we get to take part in events that only exist because of the love shared between family and friends. Even the world’s greatest minds and most intellectual beings NEED the support of those around them to even consider their work to be of value.
Let the summary of my first contribution to this blog be a truth: While we may not have ideas worth spreading, we know love is worth spreading.
Within the realm of wedding coordinating my heart truly is in food and beverage. To me, one of the most important aspects of an event is the breaking of bread, conversations over great wine and full tummies from food that guests leave talking about. Long gone are the days of dry chicken and mashed potatoes- especially in our local city of Portland, Oregon- where food, wine, beer and cocktails rule the roost.
There is no excuse for bad wedding food or poor service, especially when food and beverage consumes a large portion of the budge. It is crucial to have a great experience before signing the dotted line with your caterer. If catering is in-house at a venue, and food and beverage are important to you, I highly recommend a tasting prior to booking the venue.
Narrow down your list of potential caterers to two; three max. Most caterers spend an abundance of time creating personalized menus with their Chefs, costs analysis, and tasting experience. Pay attention to how far in advance you are booking a caterer. Small companies will only contract a few events per weekend, so it is common for them to be unavailable as your wedding date nears.
Schedule your tasting in advance to allow ample time for companies to prepare. Many caterers have set days and times they offer tastings and often they don't include weekends, so plan accordingly. Up to four guests for a tasting is appropriate without asking too much. If you have a Planner, it is important they attend with you, as they have experience and knowledge to give their opinion. If you don't have a Planner, bring along someone you highly trust their food expertise (probably not a good idea to bring your Taco Bell loving maid of honor who will likely think everything is good!).
Do not be afraid to ask for culturally specific items, and family favorites. Ask for alternative entrees or accommodations for your guests with dietary restrictions and children's meals. This is standard practice and should be available.
Pay particular attention to these details and don't be shy to jot down some notes:
- Food Presentation- Did the food look appetizing?
- Taste and Temperature- Were the flavors bold? Bland? Served at the correct temperature?
- Cuisine Descriptions - Did the staff share with you the ingredients, where items were sourced and easily answer your questions regarding the food?
- Service- Did you feel well taken care of? Like you were at a restaurant you would want to come back to?
- Protein- Was your steak tender? Was your chicken moist? How large are the portions?
- Proposal Overview- Did they present you with a copy of the proposal they previously sent you? If not, ask to see it. Did they take notes on items you want to adjust?
- Report- Did you feel comfortable with the catering manager? Were they easy to communicate with and did you get all of your questions answered?
You should walk away feeling confident and excited to hire your caterer. If you are not feeling that way, take your time to find the right one and never settle!
The same last name as the Founder of Vanity Affair Events, Alex is the older sister of Kelsey. If there is a ying and a yang among family members, this would describe these two siblings.
A graduate in 2008 from Chapman University in Orange California with a BA in Communication Studies, Alex’s career path has been most recently in the Restaurant Industry. The gravitational pull back to Oregon has been both prompted by her love of the NW and her sister wanting to combine their respective strengths in business.
Alex left a tenured position in Management and Market Development for a large food chain in California. The role as Market Development Manager required overseeing four restaurant locations and their operations. Her expertise in identifying weak areas in that atmosphere brings Vanity Affair an advantage in all things operational. A vision is only as good as its operators! Alex’s behind the scenes and systems oriented approach, will fortify both Kelsey and Danielle’s careful planning of all details most important for your event.
When Alex is not working, you can find her immersed in all things NFL (a fantasy football guru) and searching for her next great read.
In November I wrote a blog titled Childhood Groom and it is a blog that is really dear to me. It describes what I believe one of the best parts of my career to be, and that is the people it brings back into my life from childhood, in one form or another.
Meet Krissy and Matt. When they approached me a little over a year ago with the opportunity to be their Wedding Planner, it was, and has been, a walk down memory lane, and one I would walk over and over if given the chance.
The three of us went to high school together, very familiar with who one another was, but never were our immediate friendships within the same circle. Krissy was an amazing dancer with an infectious laugh and Matt the most genuine, authentic, witty friend to my first real boyfriend (go ahead, laugh, it's true) who I gained through AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) with a username 'LiLKeLc88'....written just. like. that.
Although strictly an observer, there was always something unspoken between Krissy and Matt and years later I ran right into Krissy as she was walking in for coffee and I was walking out and in our passing, she laid it thick on me that her and Matt had officially crossed paths and were dating.
Something about that day. Krissy was radiant. Hadn't seen her in years and it always reminds me just what 'love does.' It's magical. And looking back on their winter wedding, magic would be the perfect way to describe every emotion and detail that went into creating this weekend.
A beautiful, overcast February day in Portland, Oregon, where Krissy and Matt exchanged vows in front of family and friends is one that I will hold close. From the beautiful table settings, the unbelievable floral installations who were carefully crafted by her own Mother, Amy, to the way Matt looked at Krissy when she came down the stairs of Hotel deLuxe for their first look, you just don't forget moments like these.
Cheers to K+M for a lifetime full of health, happiness and everything in between.
Wedding Design & Coordination by Vanity Affair Events
Photography by Olivia Strohm Photography
Floral Design by Amy, Mother of the Bride
Stationery by Parkside Prints
Rentals by Barclays
Catering by Chefstable
Ceremony & Reception The Evergreen PDX
Since June of 2016, Vanity Affair Events has been working closely with famed calligrapher Laura Hooper. Hooper’s creations have been instrumental in many wedding events nationwide, including our own, where we have used her amazing creations by way of menus and personal notes to customize every last detail.
A Resident of Alexandria, Virginia, Laura has been studying the art of Calligraphy for over 20 years. For the past 12 years she has been applying her craft particularly focused on wedding events. Her highly sought after script is often featured on blogs such as Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, 100 Layer Cake and more.
Vanity Affair Events is proud to collaborate with Laura Hooper for a rare opportunity for a calligraphy workshop scheduled for October 2017. We are flattered that Laura Hooper’s first visit to Portland will be hosted by Vanity Affair Events. Together with our shared enthusiasm for her creative work and our penchant to find unique and memorable wedding experiences, this is a must! Reserve your spot now to learn and be inspired!
We thank our team in advance for working with us to make this possible: Laura Hooper, Something Borrowed, Swoon Floral Design, Studio 1904 and Coco Donuts.
Laura Hooper Calligraphy Workshop
Sunday, October 22nd, 2017
10:00AM to 1:00PM
6635 N Baltimore Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97203
*Please note, spaces are limited so early registration is highly recommended.
Hope to see you there!
Kelsey + Danielle
It's hard to believe that tomorrow we welcome March and Spring will soon be here. Where has this year gone? Can we travel back in time?
As we slow down and reflect on this past month, we are reminded of our weekend in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, where two amazing human beings exchanged vows and shared in celebration surrounded by their closest family and friends from all over the world.
Danielle and I arrived on Thursday, assembling welcome bags, delivering to resorts for when guests checked in. It's these little details that really make your loved ones feel so special and as we hand delivered, we too felt in the joy they would soon be greeted by.
We witnessed a beautiful rehearsal at Carmel Mission on Friday afternoon and sent guests to rehearsal dinner while we ironed out any last details and laid out our plan for wedding day. We enjoyed a dinner for two at II Tegamino and threw ourselves into a bit of a food coma, but absolutely worth it and highly recommend if you ever find yourself in this beautiful place.
We woke Saturday morning to misty rain and by Noon the clouds parted ways and we were standing under blue skies. It's amazing how the world works and I find myself saying it more often than not. It had been pouring the entire week and here we stood with sunshine, soft waves in the ocean and dry sand under our feet. Those moments are powerful and they always make me smile.
This weekend was possible because of the amazing team that we collaborated with and for clients who allow us to create and execute a design we are confident with to reflect the environment they want to see, touch and feel. Because of all of them, we did just that.
On this last evening in February, we're missing those soft ocean waves and the sand beneath or feet, but thankful for where our work takes us and the relationships we nurture along the way.
Wedding Design & Coordination by Vanity Affair Events
Photography by Aubree Lynn
Floral Design by Gavita Flora
Stationery by Tie That Binds
Hair and Makeup by Blush Monterey
Rentals by Chic Event Rentals
Reception La Playa Carmel