Tag Archives: Wedding Vendors Cleveland Ohio

Jordan and Melissa’s Wedding Photography

The weather was a little crazy but it worked out perfectly.  Every moment we wanted to be outside photographing, the clouds parted and out came the sun.  Then, we’d walk inside and a downpour would arrive.  I think Jordan and Melissa might have even had the rain blessing their new marriage.

Before I even met Jordan I thought that he was very sweet and kind just from his e-mail messages.  But, then I saw how he cares for Melissa and I knew I was right.  They are good together in that way, each one taking care of the other.

Jordan and Melissa were married on September 10 in one of the most beautiful churches around, the Shrine Church of Saint Stanislaus in Cleveland.  The church has stood for a century and I can’t help but hope that the beauty of the church will match Jordan and Melissa’s love for nearly that long.

The reception was held at Hudson Country Club and the venue was gorgeous accented with purple and ivory.  Some highlights from the reception were a photo booth that kept guests laughing, lots of moves on the dance floor, and one of the most impressive cake smashes I may have ever seen.

Jordan and Melissa, thank you for sharing your day with me.  It is always an honor.  Blessings to you both.

The other vendors who made the day possible:

Florist: The Budding Tree

 

Bridal Boutique: Catan Fashions

DJ: Classic DJ Entertainment

 

Wedding Tips, Tricks, & Vendors – Interview with Amy Nixon Events

This week has been a bit of a doozy.  I have been sick all week.  (Yuck!)  But, I am thrilled to be back on my feet and sharing this wonderful interview with wedding planner Amy Nixon.  She shares some great wedding tips.

Thanks so much for agreeing to an interview, Amy. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and moved to Ohio in 2005. My hobbies are reading, cooking and baking and watching reality TV shows! I started my business in 2006, left “Corporate America” in 2007, and have been growing my business ever since. I’m a member of Working Women Connection, a women in business networking group in the area, and I love networking of any kind. I am happily married with two teenage step-children and I live in Avon Lake where I have a studio in my home. In November 2010 we opened our second studio in Vermilion.

Wow!  A second studio.  That’s exciting!  How did you become a wedding planner?

One of my first jobs in high school was working with flowers, making things like corsages and homecoming mums. That job was what began my love of creating, and led eventually to my love of creating weddings. After working in flowers for several years, and then learning about photography from my mother (who had her own photography business), I wanted to start a business of my own combining all my experiences. When I moved to Ohio, the opportunity to start a business presented itself, so I took advantage. I started with planning and day-of coordination only and soon incorporated floral designs and décor rentals as well.

What is your favorite part?

My favorite part is the feeling of gratification when you pull off an amazing event. When the bride tells you that everything is gorgeous, and the guests ooh-and-aah at the décor all night, and all of the hard work you put in has paid off.

O.K.  I’m going to jump right in with a hard one.  Many people assume hiring a wedding planner adds a huge expense to their wedding budget.  How would you reply?

Complete myth! A good wedding planner will be able to save their client money in the long run, in addition to saving them time by doing all the planning research and legwork. We work with you to form a budget and stick to it, and we pass on any vendor discounts we receive directly to the client; for example, $50 in savings on your cake, $100 in savings on your DJ, $500 on flowers… that already covers the cost of our partial planning package, and we haven’t even gotten into photography, videography, attire, invitations, transportation, décor, favors, hair, makeup, accommodations, etc… In short, a good planner will help you make educated choices along the planning path, which will help you save money and avoid any over-spending.

Great points Amy.  Can you share a few of your favorite wedding details from last year?

We did a large wedding in June at Lyman Harbor that was tropical themed and fun! Palm trees, huge tropical flower centerpieces, and even a grooms cake in the form of a Hawaiian shirt. We did a small wedding in August that incorporated some Japanese themed décor items such as bonsai trees, lanterns, cherry blossom fans and favors in Chinese take-home boxes (the couple was honeymooning in Japan). Another one of our August weddings was a rustic nature theme, where we did small tree trunks as vases and used all baby’s breath in the arrangements and bouquets. We also did a super fun Halloween themed wedding with a Buddhist ceremony at House of Blues. At the reception there was a huge Halloween candy station and a photo booth with Halloween costumes to play in. Deep red and orange calla bouquets, pumpkin centerpieces, deep red rose petals… (We kept it tasteful, not kitchy!) I also included a photo of my favorite bouquet from last year, made with all yellow flowers and grey ribbon.

Here are some images Amy sent over.  Gorgeous stuff.

blue napkins and white linens cover tables at this wedding reception

creative wedding decor is shown on table at reception

baby's breath wreath from wedding in akron

beautiful wedding cake with hawaiian shirt groom's cake

beautiful yellow bridal bouquet sitting with other wedding details

You are a florist as well, right?  How does that help your brides when you are planning?

Yes, we do event design which includes floral design (along with linens, lighting, and other design details that make weddings beautiful!). My background is in floral design, so most of my brides like that fact and add on our flowers to their planning or coordination package. We have a great portfolio of previous work, we can do modern or traditional, and we can almost always quote a lower price than other florists in the area because we don’t have the same overhead costs that they do (for example, we don’t keep a shop full of flowers… we only order what we need for our events.)

What is the best advice you can give for any bride trying to plan her wedding?

Before you do anything else, set a budget. Weddings are expensive any way you look at it, and if you don’t control your spending you’ll quickly find yourself in a bad place. You need to realistically evaluate your finances and contributions from others to come up with your budget. Then, allocate certain amounts from the budget to each vendor. Don’t over-spend. If you have trouble setting a budget, contact a planner or coordinator. Some (including us) offer hourly consultations and can help you establish a budget and get you on your way to smart spending.

What trends to you see coming up for 2011 and 2012 weddings?

Yellow and Navy are popular this year, as well as shiny metallic colors. Uplighting and pin spotlighting are décor elements that we’re getting more and more requests for these days, and we’ve learned so many creative new ways to use lighting in our décor designs. Interactive stations for the guests are popular as well; candy and dessert stations as favors, decadent coffee and tea stations with fancy condiments, a fill your own tossing cone station with petals and herbs….no matter what type, brides are loving that it gives their guests an entertaining activity while at the same time acting as a décor element.

When planning a wedding, where do you look for ideas?  What keeps the creativity flowing?

I’m a big blogger! I follow tons of blogs, everything from cocktails and baking to designing and weddings, and they always inspire great ideas! I also like to look to the engaged couple for ideas. I like to incorporate personal touches, so details about the couple can inspire great ideas; for example, a bride from Ohio and a groom from the Jersey shore inspired a hotel welcome basket with salt water taffy and buckeyes. We also attend educational seminars and expos throughout the year to learn about what’s new in the event industry from other seasoned professionals. David Tutera from My Fair Wedding, Linnyette Richardson-Hall from Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?, Michael Cerbelli from Total Entertainment, and David Merrell from Design Dawgs are a few of the pros that educated and inspired us during 2010!

Do you have any funny stories from your experience as a planner?

I guess the funniest thing I can think of right off the bat would be a photographer falling asleep at the table during dinner. I sat with the photographer and my staff at the vendors table for dinner, and the lights were dimmed to run a slide show of the bride & groom. While we were eating, the photographer across from me began nodding off (literally nodding, head bobbing all around). My assistants were trying to hold it together and not laugh! We let him nap for about 10 minutes while we finished dinner, then I purposely bumped into the table while standing up and it jolted him awake. He just yawned, picked up his camera and headed over to take photos of the cake cutting like nothing had happened.

Oh my!  I have to say, I’ve never fallen asleep during a reception!

What should a bride do if she is considering your services?

If a bride is interested in hiring a wedding planner or day-of coordinator, we offer a complimentary consultation for them. They can call or email us anytime to schedule a consultation. We can answer any questions from the couple, explain our packages and pricing, and we can recommend the best package for their needs and budget. We can also help with design ideas from our linen swatches, wedding magazines, and sample items in our studios.

Last but possibly most important of all, what is your favorite candy?

Chocolate! But in particular, the extremely elusive Chocolate Pay Day candy bar. (They’re very hard to find, and I think they only come out at certain times of the year). I stock up when I find them.

And just when I thought I had tried every candy.  Now, I’ll have to add one to my list.

 

Wedding Tips, Tricks, & Vendors-Interview with Pastore Studio

I recently hired Maria of Pastore Studio to help me with my logo design.  I knew what I wanted but need a designer eye to “fix” it up a bit.  Not only is she a branding genius, she also designs custom wedding invitations.  I knew all of you brides might love to see her work as much as I did.

Thanks for agreeing to an interview Maria!  Tell us a little about yourself.

• I am beginning to regret how little I read books.

• I am slightly neurotic when it comes to being organized and making lists, including lists that direct me to make a list about something else.

• I have never dyed my hair, unless you count a Sun-In incident in 1996.

• My favorite wines are Pinot Noir, Malbec and Chianti.

• If the setup in a room is odd, I start to rearrange the furniture in my head. I have successfully convinced people that another arrangement would be more functional.

• I prefer small groups and close conversation to large groups and parties.

• I have really become obsessed with making plans to travel to places I’ve never been.

• Love social media, but personal correspondence is still vital for fostering relationships.

• I have finally learned to drink coffee black.

• Designing for others is what I enjoy. Designing for myself is impossible because I cannot commit to fonts, colors and style which I think is due to not wanting my work or presentation style to be categorized.

• Clutter makes me nervous.

I may need to have you over to rearrange my house!  I am definitely open to suggestions.  So, how did you get into the invitation business?

You know, the truth is that I feel as though I’ve been in the business my entire life or at least trying to be in it since I was very young. I have been designing for myself and others all along, I just now do it professionally. To nurture my craft and love of design, I chose to go to one of the best design schools in the country – Kent State University School of Visual Communication Design and earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts. This really helped me find my style and voice as a designer, something that is still being developed each day with each new project. I have had clients reach out to me because they appreciate the aesthetic of my work and moments like that that keep me here and motivated.

Post-grad, I worked in Manhattan as a junior designer at a design firm for a little over a year and then found my way back to Northeast Ohio designing at an advertising agency for about five years. While I had been freelancing all the while, designing invitations, etc., I decided to go full-time with my studio a little over a year ago and made it official in April 2010. Big decision to make, especially in today’s economy. I knew it would be a risk, but one that I had to take. I’ve always done what I love to do at all of my design jobs, but now I am doing it on my own terms, which is important to me. As a visual branding and invitation/stationery designer I chose to offer both as services of Pastore Studio.

I am glad you did!

(Maria not only helped me with my own logo, but check out a couple of the other brands she’s designed.)

What were some of your favorite projects from the last year?

I really enjoyed working on everything this past year. One of my favorite projects was being able to design the invitation suite for William and Dolores Brown who had their wedding vow renewal wish granted by Wish Upon a Wedding, Cleveland. It is always wonderful when you can give your time in support of a wonderful couple and a great cause.

(Below are some examples that Maria sent over.  Just gorgeous.)

What is something few people realize about invitation design?

The invitation makes the loudest statement about your upcoming wedding or event. It is definitely something that should be just as important as elements of the event itself (flowers, cake, accessories, lighting). Starting with setting the tone of your event with your invitation design, following suit with all parts of the day itself and wrapping things up with a thank you card. All elements should feel as they they are part of one branded package.

What is the process of invitation design like?  Could you give us the basic steps starting with meeting with the bride and groom?

We’ll email ideas or inspiration or meet in person to discuss specifics. The design process begins afterwards. Usually, I will focus on the main ceremony card and present a couple different options. The client will choose their favorite design direction and the process evolves from there for the remaining items. It’s always different and tailored to the needs of each client.

How long from start to finish should a couple allow?

This will vary and depends on many variables. Ideally, it’s best to reach out and start the process anywhere from 10-6 months prior to the event. Or if you’re interested in sending out a save the date as well, I would recommend 12 months before the event.

Invitations should be mailed 12-10 weeks before a destination wedding, 10-8 weeks before a local affair with some out of town guests and 8-6 weeks before an event that mostly includes local guests.

For details on process/timing – please go to the following page of the Pastore Studio website: http://www.pastorestudio.com/Invitations-Process.html

(Here are some examples of Pastore Studio custom designs.)

If a bride has no idea what she’d like for her invites, is there a resource you can suggest to help her gather ideas?

Absolutely. There are countless wedding design and planning blogs out there that serve as great resources to brides. To name a few, some of my favorites are: 100 Layer Cake, Style Me Pretty and The Knot. You can also go to your local bookstore and browse the wedding and design magazines for inspiration. Additionally, sometimes inspiration comes from the least likely of places. Maybe you’ll see a pattern you like or a color scheme that catches your eye while shopping for bedding or dinnerware. Or maybe there is a nice detailed edge on your wedding dress that you really want to incorporate. Or you might see a color pop from a flower in your garden. Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to be open to seeing it.

What new trends do you see in the invitation business for 2011?

Less is more. Coral/peach is fresh for Spring and Fall – feel like it’s a better alternative to pink. Pockets and pouches seem fussy. Stripes are still around. Paper that feels good versus flat and smooth. A knot versus a bow. However, the biggest trend is always representing yourself in the best way possible.

What inspires you?

When designing for a couple (or any client) – they inspire me. Before I get involved in designing, I truly begin to understand them as a team, what they like and what they don’t like, what they’re inspired by and that inspires me to create something truly unique for them. There’s always this fear of will I run out of design solutions but I’ve learned that when I focus on who the work is being created for, the possibilities are endless.

Additionally, I am inspired by various designers, typographers, illustrators, those who keep it real and fresh – too many to list. The cuts and patterns of clothing/fashion always inspires me. I am very inspired by the Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern styles. Architectural elements play a role. I follow the lines and shapes of almost everything. I’m inspired by persistence and the desire to achieve and be successful. Of course each person’s definition of success is different. I am inspired by my husband’s ability to always make laugh, even when I am trying to be serious – sometimes it is just what I need to keep going.

I love what you said there, “when I focus on who the work is being created for, the possibilities are endless.”  I feel the same way about photographing weddings.  And for my final (and most vital) question…what’s your favorite kind of candy?

• Favorite candy with chocolate: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, original is best, but still thoroughly enjoy the Trees and Eggs as well as the Minis.

• Favorite candy without chocolate: a tie between Sweetarts and Chewy Sprees

Thanks so much Maria for telling us about yourself and Pastore Studio.

Head over and check out her site to see more awesome work that she’s done.

Wedding Wednesday {Best Cleveland Area Wedding Vendors, Tips, & Ideas}

I am so thrilled to introduce an great company to you today.  I was out at their studio a few months back and I have to tell you I was very impressed.

Hi Leigh, Have you been with Jerry Bruno Productions long?  What do you do there?  What’s the best part about your job?

I have been with Jerry Bruno Productions since July of 2005. I started out just a couple days a week, then began doing event coordination but realized sales isn’t for me. So I proposed to take over website editing and begin internet marketing, which is in line with my degree and experience in Public Relations. I love getting a chance to utilize creative skills and learn about internet marketing daily.

In 2006, Jerry put together a new band called The Avenue and invited me to be one of its singers. I asked a friend that I used to sing with in a girl group at Pickwick & Frolic, Tiffany Marchak, to join, and we pieced together the rest of the band via connections and ads.

(Leigh, singing with The Avenue)

When did Jerry Bruno Productions begin as a company?  How did it get started?

The Bruno family has long standing music roots in the Cleveland area. Jerry Bruno moved to Los Angeles in the 80s and created The Jerry Bruno Music Network there. His clients included the likes of President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan, Princess Di, and the casts and crews of “Cheers” and “Taxi.” He conducted a string ensemble for Bon Jovi’s after-Oscars party in 1990.

Jerry returned home to Cleveland in 1995 and began growing what is now known as Jerry Bruno Productions.

Your website describes your company as a “wedding entertainment source,”  what do you mean by this?

About 90% of our booked jobs are at wedding ceremonies and receptions. But in addition to over 20 bands and 20 DJs, we represent countless musicians and acts for all aspects of an event. We’ve booked string quartets to play everything from Bach to Metallica at ceremonies, and Elvis impersonators to entertain at rehearsal dinners.

We also have a lot of clients needing entertainment for corporate events and private parties, as well.

If a couple walks in, who should they expect to talk to?

Currently, most of the booking and event coordination is handled by DJ Scott Jones and and Geoff Short. Scott is our General Manager and has been working at the office for a decade, and Geoff is band leader of and singer in The Avenue. They both have extensive experience planning and performing for weddings at all the major local venues.

(The amazing Scott Jones)

When would you recommend a DJ for a wedding and when would you recommend a band?

It can be a matter of taste and/or price. Some feel that a band provides an air of class, while others just want someone to be in charge of playing music at the right time and making announcements.

There are exceptions, but most of our bands excel at playing a wide range of popular genres and songs, which is great if your guests range in age from 8 to 80. If most of your dancing crowd is younger and into primarily modern music, a DJ might be a better fit. Many clients hire a band for the first four hours and then a DJ for the final hour or two, for the younger crowd.

What unique qualities does each have to offer?

A DJ is usually more affordable than a fully stocked band, and you’ll hear the original, familiar versions of all your favorite music. A band will provide more crowd interaction and bring more energy and personality to the room. (Our DJs pretty much stay at their booth, no dancing on speakers or singing along.)

If a bride is interested in a particular band, how far in advance should she be sure to book?

At least a year. As of July of 2010, we already have some bands and DJs booked for dates in October of 2011.

If a couple has no idea what the best entertainment choice is for their wedding, can you help guide them to a perfect match?

Absolutely! First, we can narrow choices down using availability for their date. Then, we can show them some choices on DVD. If a client isn’t feeling the vibe of a band or DJ, we’re pretty good at reading that. No problem, we move on to other choices. We’ll find out about their venue, their budget, their guests and their favorite music, and usually one or two bands or DJs will come to mind as a good fit.

What question should every couple ask their entertainment before booking with them?

They should find out if the individual they are meeting with, or those featured in the video, will be the same individuals who will be performing at the event. Some companies book under one name, then farm out the work to anyone available. But one song can sound VERY different sung by different singers, and different DJs have very different personalities. Not to mention one song list doesn’t fit all bands.

At the same time, conflicts can occur. Once or twice a year, we may need to replace a lead singer or DJ due to illness. The fact that we have a pre-screened talent roster in our pocket is a major plus to booking through an agency. We can easily fill-in a role at the last minute if needed, and the bride won’t be bothered with added stress the day of her wedding.

Leigh, thank you so much for your time.  I look very forward to working with you guys in the future.