12 Ways to Add Meaning to a Milestone Celebration

Grandpa Jim’s 90th Birthday Party

This past November all of my family members (on my dad’s side) gathered to celebrate my grandfather’s 90th Birthday Celebration! In planning this party with my family, I keep a few things in mind and implemented them into our planning process that helped to really add meaningfulness into this joyous occasion. Today I’m sharing those helpful ways to inspire you for your next milestone gathering.

 

Private Facebook Group for Communication/Include Family Members/Delegate Tasks

Creating a Private Facebook Group is smart way to keep your entire family members (well at least those on FB), involved and included in the planning process. Then they can decide how involved they desire to be or they can simply turn off the notifications and only tune in once in a while. This is extremely helpful when deciding upon the date, the time, the venue, the overall theme, and delegating tasks.

Have A Theme.

Yes, all “great” celebrations truly need a theme of some kind. This is really a sneaky (SMART) tip at being able to keep your budget in check. You see, if you give the party a “relaxed” theme to begin with, this automatically saves you from feeling like your décor needs to be over the top. The theme should make sense and really be true reflection of the guest of honor.

Incorporate your theme into the décor.

The theme should be communicated through the invitation first and foremost. Next it should be carried through on your tables and any other fun areas that can use a little décor and personalization such as the chairs, high top tables, welcome area, and the cake.


Display family photos and memorabilia, and signage.

Nothing make a milestone event more heartfelt than being able to view old family photos. This is such an easy way to add meaning. And signage is a big deal. Having a welcome sign is great way to greet guests into the experience.


Have a Plan for the Timeline.

Having a timeline for any type of gathering is a must. Never assume that you’ll make plan during the actual party, that’s not possible. You’ll be too busy chatting with guests to make any sort of on the spot decisions. This doesn’t mean you need to plan for something happening every minute of the gathering, but a simple timeline creates a flow that is needed when gathering people.


Plan for Family Group Photos.

If possible (especially with large families) arrange for your family members to arrive early, before the party begins. At this time everyone will have fresh faces and attention spans. It’s more realistic to plan for your family to arrive a preset time before the party, then scrambling trying to group everyone at the tail end of the event.


Involve the guests.

Plan for the guest of honor to have something meaningful to take home. Consider setting out a box of note cards, envelopes and pens. Encourage them to jot down their favorite memories for the guest of honor to read later, after the party. It’s a little melancholy when a celebration is over, this is nice way for the guest to have something else look forward to and enjoy.

 

Arrange for a Master of Ceremonies.

If you’re budget will allow, hiring an emcee/dj will make your job as the host, much more enjoyable. Once you’ve planned everything out, turning over the timeline to the Emcee is HUGE. Now, they become in charge of the flow, and lend a real “voice” (which is needed) to the event.


Be thoughtful with your music selections.

The music needs to make sense. If you can arrange for live music during cocktail hour, there’s nothing better. Next, create a playlist that the guest of honor will appreciate, music that they love. Also, choose some “feel good” classic party songs that help to fill a dance floor.


The cake is a big deal!

A great way to incorporate your overall theme is in the cake, especially when it comes to a milestone (like 90!). And be sure to make this a big part of the celebration. Arrange for the guest of honor to be brought out in front of everyone for this momentous moment.


Slideshows, always.

Never underestimate the power of a slideshow. Make sure it’s located in a visible area and preplan when it will scroll. Remember to turn it off during the presentation part of the celebration so it doesn’t distract from the happenings. The best time to showcase a scrolling slideshow is during cocktail hour and again after the planned festivities have concluded, during the dancing reception.


Involve Loved Ones.

Arrange for those closest to the guest of honor to be involved in some way. This could be through a planned speech, a family trivia game, really any kind of sentimental delivery. These are usually the moments that mean the most to the guest of honor and are the parts of the celebration that stand out the most to the guests in attendance.

5 Tips for Selecting the Members of Your Bridal Party

Hello Friends,
Let’s talk about choosing your bridal party. I’ve had many brides and grooms express their many concerns when it comes to this task. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, because there are a lot of emotions and expectations involved. Today I’ve put together a few thoughts I would like to consider before selecting your “tribe.”


1.) The Honor
Who really deserves it? Often time people base their bridal party selections on obligation (well, I was in their wedding, or I have to all of my sisters) rather than selecting people who simply feel right. Really think about who you turn to in times of joy and trouble. Ask yourself who makes you feel special; who do you have fun times with?


2.) The Time Commitment
Being involved with a wedding involves a lot of time. There’s the dress shopping, the fitting, the accessories, the bridal shower, the bachelorette party, the rehearsal ceremony, the rehearsal dinner, of course the wedding day. Really think about whether or not this person has the time to commit. If you’re uncertain, feel free to ask them directly. To some friends, it might not matter how much time is involved, while others it might place great stress upon.

 

3.) The Expense
Being involved in a wedding can be quite expensive. The wardrobe, the possible travel, the alternations, professional hair and makeup, plus possible requested time off of work. Not to mention gifts along for each celebration….it can be a lot. Again, if you’re uncertain ask your friend and try to best estimate an amount ahead of time to share with them.

 

4.) The Great Expectations
Really think about whether or not this person will meet the expectations you’ve created in your mind and heart. Are you expecting the members of your bridal to be able to attend all the functions (bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner) or are you okay with them possibly needing to skip some of these times? Will this person be excited and joyful about your wedding day or will they be negative and voice their complaints along the way?
5.) The Fun Factor
A great ingredient to a great wedding day is a fun and active bridal party. Some of the best dance floors are being rocked out by the bridal party. Members of the bridal party feel special, they feel honored, therefore they are more likely to cut loose and have a great time supporting you and your most special day.

Classic Gainey Ranch Winter Wedding

Greetings All!  I'm so excited to share this beautiful Gainey Ranch Golf Club Wedding with you today! This lovely day took place on December 16th, 2017, closing out the year in a big way for Sarah and Jordan.  

One thing I knew for sure, right from the beginning, was that this wedding was truly going to be a family affair.  From the very first phone calls that came in to discuss wedding planning services~ first a phone call from Cindy ,the Mother of the Groom, then followed by a phone call from Berta, the Mother of the Bride.  My first in person meeting was with both sets of parents, while Sarah and Jordan were busy working.  I was so touched and amused by the true friendships between their parents. They were a wedding planning team~ that knew who to handle all the stressful wedding planning details and decisions through laughter.  

I actually didn't get to meet Sarah & Jordan until the tail end of the wedding planning process and I was impressed with their partnership and laid back approach to embracing the wedding day.  It was also apparent that they were a true team and were ready to make everything official.  

The wedding day took place at the always enchanting Gainey Ranch Golf Club.  The wedding day was filled with delightful touches of ivory and flowing greenery~ matching the natural elements of the setting so perfectly.  To bring in touches of winter and sophistication, a strong shade of navy was highlighted in both the gorgeous wardrobe and table linens.  But most importantly what stood out was the humorous tone not only among the parents and family but also the bridal party.  This group was very comfortable together and knew how to have fun.  

One of most memorable moments from this day was witnessing the reactions from Sarah's bridesmaid and family when she initially  walked out in her wedding dress for the first time. As a Wedding Planner, these moments are some of the heartfelt perks.  Shortly after, I helped Sarah down the elevator and led her to the spot where her handsome groom was awaiting her arrival for their "First Look."  There I witnessed their entire bridal party and immediate family members gathered at the windows in awe of watching this special moment.  There was so much joy and sweet tears shed by all that love Sarah and Jordan.  And this was just the beginning of their magical day. All that followed was truly spectacular~ from the personalized ceremony, to the confetti cannon grand entrance, followed by the surprise firework display.  This was wedding day to remember.  


Sarah, Jordan, Berta, Bill, Steve & Cindy~  thank you for allowing me to join your wedding planning process at the tail end.  I know that decision involved a great deal of trust.  Thank you for allowing my team  and me that honor.  What an amazing way to begin a marriage~ here a few of my favorite moments from your day! 

View Jordan and Sarah's Wedding Day Highlight Video: HERE
View My Candid/Personal "Behind the Scenes Clips" : HERE

CREATIVE PARTNER TEAM

Venue: Gainey Ranch Golf Club | Wedding Planning: Jennifer Starr | Beauty: Kensington Makeup | Cinema: J&P Media Group | Entertainment: Got You Covered | Florals: The Wildflower AZ | Photography: Robert Godridge Photography | Rentals & Décor: Tremaine Ranch

8 Questions to Ask When You Are Interviewing Wedding DJs

Hello!

Lets delve into the entertainment world! What do you want to know when looking for your DJ? Below are 8 questions I recommend asking when you’re interviewing DJs.


1. How long have you been a DJ and how many weddings have you done?
It’s important to make sure that you are hiring a seasoned professional. The DJ has a huge responsibility in the success of your reception. It’s important to make sure that he/she is confident and fully able to provide the exact vibe that you are looking for.

2. Have you played at my venue before?
You’ll want to make sure that your DJ is familiar with your venue. This is important in terms of load in, set up (where the outlets are, what areas extension cords can run through) and how to set up the equipment to provide the best overall sound for the evening. If the DJ hasn’t played at your venue before, that’s okay. Just make sure that he/she is willing to do a walk thru of the venue space prior to the wedding day.

3. Will you serve as my emcee (master of ceremonies) during the reception? Do you have a video of yourself in action that I can see?
Some companies offer djs and emcees separately, while other companies offer a DJ/Emcee service (same person). Make sure that you have hired a “voice” of your evening to handle the flow of all of your important moments: grand entrance, first dance, toasts, cake cutting and all the other special events throughout the night. The next step is to make sure you “like their voice”. They will set the tone for your entire evening and it’s important that you like their style, how they sound on a mic, and handle a crowd.

4. Are you insured?
You want to make sure that you are hiring a legitimate company for your most special day. Because the truth is anyone can purchase equipment and call themselves a “DJ”. It is incredibly important that this company carries business liability insurance, pays taxes, and has insured equipment.

5. What attire will you wear at my wedding?
Don’t be shy, this is a must ask question! Your DJ must be dressed appropriately; all eyes will be looking at him/her from time to time.

6. Can I select my own songs?
Often times DJs will allow you pick up to a certain amount of songs to give them a good feel as what your music taste is like. They might even ask you to provide them with a “don’t play” list. This could contain the Macarena, the chicken dance, or maybe is past “songs” of your old boyfriends and girlfriends.


7. What is included in your services? What are items (if any) do you offer?
Do they provide a set up for the both the ceremony and reception? What about the cocktail hour? Do they bring back up equipment (just in case)? Do they provide their table(s)? Do they offer uplighting? Gobo light? Photobooths, etc?

8. What is the back up plan if you get sick or have a pop up emergency and you are unable to be at my wedding?
Does he/she work with a team? Do they have other professional djs they can call upon that offer a similar style and service to themselves? Has this ever happened before and how was it handled? Be sure that this person has your most special covered in a worst case scenario.

 

 

Romantic Seville Golf & Country Club Wedding

Oh, friends, I'm so excited to share this Seville Golf and Country Club Wedding with you today! It’s hard for me to believe that this wedding actually took place 4 months ago! I think time flies extra fast during Arizona's most beautiful months.


This wedding was especially endearing to me, as it was the first time I actually started imagining what it would be like to be the "Mother of the Bride" myself one day.  And the reason for that was because of how extraordinary the relationship was between Jessica (the Bride) and Terri (the Mother of the Bride.) So close that Jessica wore her mom's very own wedding dress (with a few modifications.) And when it was time for Jessica to have her dress bustled for the reception Terri had her very own Maid of Honor helping Jessica, along with Jessica's Maid of Honor. It was such a beautiful full circle meaningful moment to witness.


Additionally, Jessica and Bryan's (the Groom) families were so warm and fun. The entire day was filled with laughter, joy, and fun moments. And I think that was a largely because of Jessica and Bryan's relationship, it was quite obvious that they were very best friends, who truly treasured their time with their family, friends, and also each other.


The wedding day took place at the always romantic Seville Golf and Country Club. Every part of their day was filled with a personal touch of some kind and paired with gorgeous florals by Blume Events. But what stuck out to us most was the humor and sincerity of Jessica, Bryan, and everyone around them.


The second our team walked onto property, we were greeted with a huge hug and smile that made us feel like family. As a Wedding Planner, there is nothing you want more than for your clients to truly surrender all their thoughts about planning and details and enjoy and really savor the day.  In that moment, I knew, we had gained Terri and Jessica's trust and allowed them to step into their roles 100% ~as Bride and Mother of Bride and experience one of life's most beautiful days.

 

Jessica, Bryan and Terri, thank you for allowing us to be part of your family for the day. It was truly an honor, and we’re so excited for you to see a few of our many favorites moments!

View Bryan & Jessica's Wedding Day Highlight Video:  HERE 

View my personal "Behind the Scenes Clips" :  HERE 

 

CREATIVE PARTNER TEAM

Photography/Cinema : Steponme Photography | Planner: Jennifer Starr | Florals: Blume Events | DJ/Emcee: Matt Richardson | Officiant: Ryan Centers | Cake: Sue Jacobs Cakes | Linens: Southwick Linens | Venue: Seville Golf and Country Club

 

 

Best Wedding Websites to Share with Your Guests

Recently we were asked by one of our clients, which was the best Wedding Website to use? And let us let you in on a little secret, sometimes us Wedding Planners don’t necessarily have the answers to everything. But when questions like this come up, we always do our research to deliver our best findings to my clients.

For the most part, all of the wedding websites offer the similar features: rsvp section, event schedule area, and a spot to link registries, where they really differ is their customization abilities.

Let’s dig in shall we…..

Websites with a Fee:

Riely Grey ~ (sign-up & wedding website editing is free ~ publishing + sharing = $35/mo or 12 mo. package for 40% savings)

The Details: 40+ gorgeous wedding template design options, multiple color options, personalized domain names, RSVP collection, and the ability  to change your theme anytime after publication.

AppyCouple ~ ( $49 Appy Boutique basic package or $149 Appy Luxury full package - one time payment each) 

The Details: A new alternative to a traditional wedding website, AppyCouple creates a personalized smartphone app for easy access to all things about your wedding.  Users can chose from several design options and the features available within are close to limitless.  Video/photo sharing, guest list and RSVP manager, travel concierge service, customized countdown, multiple language capabilities, access to gift registries, address collection services are just to name a few.  Once created, your app will be available to all your guests as a free download and has the ability to be accessed anywhere even without wifi!


Wedding Woo ~ ($49 year/$69 two years)

The Details: Fully customizable wedding website templates with editable fonts, colors and backgrounds.  Couples can choose to add on fun, interactive "widgets" such as a wedding day countdown, personalized SoundCloud app for wedding music, and Bing Translator services so all guests can feel included.  Other highlighted features include a customizable visual dashboard, domain name, unlimited photo sharing, song request submissions for the reception, and virtual RSVP guest responses.  


Free Websites:

Wedding Window ~ (completely free or upgrade for $14.95/mo or $79.00/yr)

This wedding website service offers 20 free customizable photo themes and 16 free video themes for your website. These templates come with options to add information about wedding day festivities, ceremony details, RSVP service for guests, links to your gift registries, photo albums, guest list information, and a blogging option for the couple to use.  


The Knot ~ (free!)

The Knot is one of the most popular wedding websites that offers 100+ templates with beautiful designs to please every style.  Features within each template include information about the couple, engagement photos, links to registry sites, RSVP features, and a personalized guest book.  PLUS, many of the wedding site designs also come with the option to create matching wedding invitations of the same style through Shutterfly, Wedding Paper Divas, Minted Invitations, and Paperless Post.


Aisle Planner ~ (free!)

This popular wedding planning site now gives couples the option to create simple & straightforward place to share all your wedding details with your guests. 

 

OUR FAVORITE PICKS!!! : 

Websites with a Fee:  "AppyCouple."

After reviewing all of these wonderful websites the paid option that really stood out us was AppyCouple.  Creating a personalized app for the big day is such a creative and unique feature to offer to your guests.  Since we all look at our phones multiple times during the day, having an app that is readily accessible and easy to use like the one offered here has the potential to create more interaction and visitations to your wedding information!

Free Website : "Aisle Planner

Our favorite free website would definitely have to be Aisle Planner! As a J.Starr couple, you will get a wonderful perk in the form of access to Aisle Planner technology and the ability to create your own wedding website.  This is a great feature that lets a couple be connected to the planning process and have access to all aspects of the day

 

**Special Thank You Contributing Writer & J.Starr Intern: Annamarie Gansheimer

Modern Luxury Zen Wedding at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain

 

In the spring of 2017 Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites Magazine offered me the opportunity to design one of their covers and 4 page editorial spreads.  I was especially excited when I learned this shoot was taking place at the majestic Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa. This location has truly the best views of the valley as it's nestled atop of Camelback Mountain.

 

After touring this property and climbing up and down the mountainside with a then (very pregnant) Ashley Lopez, Assistant Publisher of the publication (such a trooper) I immediately had a concept in mind.  Something I tell all my clients is to first and foremost, chose a venue that you LOVE.  Secondly, always strive to chose designs that work with your venue, not against it.

 

With that said, I knew that the astonishing views of the Sanctuary needed to be highlighted in a big way.  I also knew that the feeling of tranquility needed to be represented.  You see, the moment I set foot on this property I instantly feel completely relaxed.  And yet, with the natural desert views, and feelings of calmness, the Sanctuary still feels extraordinarily fresh and modern.   And "that's where my concept of "Luxury Modern Zen" was born.  

 

But how do we bring this to life?  It wasn't easy, but with some incredibly talented creative collaborators I think we pulled it off quite well.  For our color palet we decided on green to bring in the ZEN (as greenery was Pantone's color of the year in 2017), along with white and silver to add in elements of MODERN and lastly natural browns/woods to bring in the DESERT and MORE ZEN. 

 

Back to those incredible views....here enters the wild idea of setting up scene on a somewhat slanted side of a mountain.  Yes, we actually set up an entire lounge set with heavy furniture (as the sky teased us with rain clouds.)  But once you see that shot with the praying monk rock formation in the background, you'll realize how much it was worth it, right?  

 

All and all I couldn't be more proud of this shoot. The collaborating creative team was incredible and the freedom yet immense support given by the team at Arizona's Finest was perfection. Thank you again for the amazing opportunity. 

 

Creative Partner Team:

Publication: Arizona's Finest Wedding Sites Magazine | Venue: The Sanctuary at Camelback Mountain | Floral Design: Flowers By Jodi | Photography: CWLIFE Photography | Cake: Kick Ass Kakes | Hair and Makeup: Babydoll Weddings | Bridal Gown: La Bella Bridal Boutique | Jewelry: Syd Jewellery | Paper Details: Posh Invitations | Furniture: Inspired Environments | Groom’s Attire: Mr. Formal | Linens: Southwick Linens | Event Design & Planning: J.Starr Stylized Weddings 

Beautiful Desert Wedding at Troon North Golf Club

Oh Kim and Billy, where do I even begin?  I struggle to write this blog post because it's my last check mark on their wedding file, which makes me kind of sad....as I don't want their wedding planning process to be over.

Because the truth is, Kim and Billy were really special to me.  They hired me to handle their planning along with all of their designing, so we got to spend a lot of time together, therefore Kim and I became really close.  And as much as my clients think I do for them, the truth is they do so much for me, especially Kim.

Let me rewind a bit.  The first time Kim called me to seek out wedding planning services we chatted for about an hour.  At the end of our call I told her I would be out of the office this coming week because "tomorrow I'm having a baby."  Kim gasped "what you're having a baby tomorrow and you let me keep you on the phone this long!"  I explained that talking to her about Wedding Planning was actually helping me to relax. 

The next time I spoke to Kim was a few weeks after having Hunter (my little boy) she officially booked my services.  It was truly a celebratory moment of reassurance for me. Because when you have a new baby there's this process you have to go through trying to "find" yourself again....as a mama, as wife, as a women, and as a business owner.  Kim was the first "J.Starr Bride" I booked after having my third child.  In a way, as I look back it's almost as if she was more a gift to me than I was to her.  I needed to prove to myself that yes, I can still do this even after having my third baby.  And Kim's belief and trust in me was exactly the push I needed at that time in my life.  I couldn't have asked for a bigger client cheerleader than Kim. 

 

Now let's talk about Kim & Billy...

They've been together for nearly twenty years. Though they knew they wanted to marry a long time ago, life experiences with loved ones pushed back their plans.  First, Kim's son got engaged, and Billy wanted to wait to propose so that their engagement didn't overshadow Kim's son's wedding plans in anyway. (meanwhile, Billy already had the ring the entire time.)  Next, their beloved sister in-law last her long battle to cancer.   Billy again postponed the engagement as the family grieved.  Finally, after a very long courtship, these two lovely people married on April 28th, 2017.  It was finally time for them to allow people to pour the love back on then that they most certainly deserve. 

 

The most important thing to Kim and Billy was providing a nice wedding for all of their guests to enjoy.  The majority of their guests where flying in for this event and it was very important to Kim and Billy that all of their guests felt comfortable .  With that they provided a Welcome Reception at The Inn at Eagle Mountain, the Wedding Ceremony and Reception at Troon North Golf Club, and a day after Wedding Brunch titled "Brunch, Bocce & Bags" at the El Chorro Lodge. 

 

The second most important thing was the "look" of the wedding feel natural to Arizona's desert beauty.  Alas we came up with the concept "Desert Elegance." The ballroom of Troon North Golf Club has some stunning views and it was necessary to really let all the natural beauty shine through.  Our entire color palette was based off the belt embellishment on Kim's wedding dress, containing jewel tones and then we complimented them with soft, muted, desert tones.   

The outcome of the day turned out absolutely beautiful.  But honestly, the true beauty came from Kim and Billy.  They are truly two of the kindest, most giving, incredible people.  They make everyone around them feel important and special.  It was truly an honor to be a part of their wedding and it was an experience that will forever remain special to me.   

 

Photography: Jacqueline Hanna Photography | Venue: Troon North Golf Club | Florist: Wild Child | Invitation: Idieh Designs | Music: Sarah Vanell | Cake: Ruze Cake House | Hair & Make-Up: Vidogi Salon | DJ: Rose Bud Entertainment | Groom & Groomsmen Suits: Celebrity Tux & Tails | Bridesmaid Gowns: Suzanne's Bridal Boutique | Wedding Planner: J. Starr Stylized Weddings

Meet the J.Starr Weddings Team

JENNIFER STARR: OWNER, DESIGNER, SENIOR LEAD PLANNER

Meet Jennifer ~ She's an Arizona Native who loves anything and everything about the creative process, a music lover, and completely addicted to being an entrepreneur.  She's truly obsessed with any reason to celebrate, even though cooking is one of her struggle area~ although she's improving. This is mostly because she's the wife of Justin and the mama to her four year old twins Hannah & Emma, and her one year old son Hunter.  Hunter's appetite is the size of football team, forcing this girl to get better in the kitchen.  Her favorite wedding moment is sneaking the couple into their reception room right before their wedding begins and allowing them to see a glimpse of their wedding day vision come to life.   Jennifer's been working collectively in the wedding industry for 12 years & started her company in February of 2011. 

APRIL WARNER: SENIOR LEAD PLANNER

Meet April ~ She's a transplant from Michigan who is a musical fanatic, TV  junkie and intense lover of Disneyland. She makes lists for almost everything she does, even though she's the only person who can read her handwriting. During football season, she never misses a Michigan game.  Her favorite wedding moment is right before the bride walks down the aisle.  She's married to the most incredible man and they have the sassiest little 2 year old...who 100% gets her sass from her mama. She's been working collectively in the wedding industry for 12 years & has been rockin J.Starr Weddings since 2016, and was even a J.Starr Bride herself!

MELISSA BAILEY: LEAD PLANNER

Meet Melissa ~ She's a helpless romantic, married to her hot shot fire fighting husband and mom to two adorable boys and beloved kitty cats. A girly-girl country girl that can still hang with the boys that loves God, her family and friends. In her spare time you can find her watching one of her many favorite movies with a bowl of popcorn by her side or finding something to organize in her home. She loves a great margarita, believes chips and salsa should be served at every meal, and every night looks forward to her coffee the next morning. One day when she tires of this dream, she will be a Professional Latin Ballroom Dancer. Melissa has be rockin' J.Starr Weddings since 2011.

MEET RENATA HODL: LEAD PLANNER

Meet Renata~ "This girl is on fire!" would be her favorite lyrics to sing at karaoke~ that is *if she could* sing ~so instead she'll just rock out in her car. She is a European transplant and has lived in several different states here in the USA. She loves traveling with her young son as he is her favorite travel buddy. Her favorite recent adventure included traveling to Thailand and visiting with the little tigers. If she's not jumping out of a plane, hiking, or lifting some weights she's pursuing her dream in the kitchen of participating on the Food Network's "Chopped" show. Renata has been working with Jennifer Starr since their earliest days in the Wedding Industry ~ a combination of 12 years. Renata loves the excitement and beauty of wedding days and especially loves all things design & floral related.

MEET CHRISTINA GAGLIANO: LEAD PLANNER

Meet: Christina ~ She's a newlywed, fur baby mama, Disney lover and Arizona native who loves the desert and all the unique features it brings. She loves traveling, daily adventures and cuddling up next to her new husband to watch documentaries. During the week Christina enjoys rock climbing at a local gym and trying new restaurants. Her favorite part of the wedding day is telling the couple " it's time" to head to the ceremony~ as each couple have such sweet emotions at that very moment. Christina has been loving working in the wedding industry for 6 years. She's been rockin J.Starr Weddings since 2016, and was even a J.Starr Bride herself!

 

 

Photography: Annie Randall Photography | Venue: Hyatt Regency Scottsdale | Rentals: Glamor & Woods | Hair & Make-Up: Linda Valenzuela | Coffee Truck: Gypsy Cup | Cinematography: Nate Ethington

WIPA Wanderlust Adventure

Recently, I was asked to be the Event Chair for the May WIPA (Wedding Industry Professional Association) Event.  I gladly said YES.  I knew this would be an amazing opportunity for me to be insanely creative, have the chance to work with some incredible people, and put together something really special for my industry peers. 

The Overall Concept:

Two key factors were already in place before I was assigned as the "Event Chair" for this event:  the location and the time.  Knowing that this would be a morning event, I wanted the overall theme to feel fresh.  I also wanted to take into account the venue that it would take place in.  After touring the Hyatt Scottsdale Resort, I felt that it gave a strong feeling of a "Desert Oasis."  I started brainstorming and designing inspiration boards~ I knew the "look" I desired but didn't have the right "name." I then sent over my design board to my BFF, who lives in LA (and happens to be a little bit cooler than me) and asked her...."What is this look?" she replied back with some perfect wording/concept ideas and the "WIPA Wanderlust Experience" was born. 

Next I got busy curating my Creative Team.  I tried selecting team members who I knew could NAIL my vision and who would be easy to work with.  I always try not to get too fixated on everything initially ~ as these types of events tend to flourish themselves when you pick the right people and show them your inspirations.

The Look:

The first place I started was working with Tami from Posh Invitations on  the "Save the Dates." I especially appreciated Tami's amazing patience as there was a ton of pressure on creating the "Save the Date" as it served as the first "visual" into the event.

I worked with "Glamour & Woods" for all of the rental and furniture pieces.  I actually had the opportunity to tour their showroom and warehouse firsthand and was blown away with all of their amazing inventory.  Next we actually all walked and "space planned" the entire venue along with Amy Dressor (Event Sales Manager Extraordinaire of the Hyatt.) The space we had to work with was quite large and we really needed to "fill" the space appropriately yet still make it feel causal and cozy.  The Glamour & Woods team knocked my concept out of the park with the pieces they offered, it truly took my vision to a whole new level.  They also were able to work "with" the venue, not "against it" and I was especially impressed by how in sync their pieces worked with the carpeting in the ballroom~ seamlessly.

Next, I knew I needed to work with Floral Designer that was truly "different." One that could pair a "high end" vibe with a "ultra cool" twist.  Mandy of Butterfly Petals is known in the industry as a true creative.  I can always spot her work out of a crowd because their is always some really interesting element to it. 

For the linens I worked with Laurie & Shelby of Southwick Linens.  They provided all the linens for the high top tables in the cocktail area, and the tables and napkins for the reception.  I always trust Laurie to suggest which linen colors will really work to compliment the look and not overpower or take away from the concept.  We always were very creative with the table layouts (not the normal) so Laurie new exactly how to make the linen sizing "work" with our unique room set up. 

When Crusin Photo Bus agreed to be on board, my beach loving spirit did about ten somersaults, and when Amy (from the Hyatt) agreed to allow us to drive the van INTO the ballroom and serve as a MAIN décor element nestled next to the stage, my Wedding Designing heart jumped for JOY.  I knew that would be key factor in the "WOW" element.   

Jesse Jo, the talented owner of Freed Hands  provided acrylic signs with her signature hand calligraphy that were placed throughout the event, truly telling a "story" as guests experienced each area. 

I brought Karma Lighting onboard to provide the uplighting~ something to really "set the mood." They also provided a beach projection scene of rolling waves on the side wall, giving the entire room a sense of movement. 

Lastly, I needed a true artist to capture this event~ and that's where Andrew & Jade Photography stepped in. Known for their natural & intimate style of photography, I knew they would capture the overall sense of beauty and softness that I needed for this rather untraditional look and feel. 

Additionally, our friends over at Serendipity Cinematography captured our event on video for us.  (see video link below)   

 

Bringing in the Elements of FUN!

Now that I knew the event would look beautiful, I had to ensure that it would be fun!

The talented Linda Valenzuela and her team not only provided the hair & make up for our bride model, they also offered a "Boho Braid Bar" for all of the guests to get their "Wanderlust" look on. 

Dave from Desert House Productions made the party~ "a party" as he played the perfect mix of jams.  I was so thrilled when Dave (a yogi himself) agreed to lead the group in some yoga stretches before we opened the doors for the Reception.

Gypsy Cup~ a traveling café was another WOW piece that I was so thankful to have be a part of the event.  As guests finished their initial passport led tour of the Hyatt, they we greeted by owners: Linsay & Neil's amazing coffee truck.  Each guest was treated to a personalized cup of coffee before they entered the "morning cocktail hour."

I was so thrilled to work with the Champagne Creative Group, they are known for bringing key SUPRISE elements to take any party from an event to an EXPERIENCE.  They provided a strolling carousel with two "wanderlust greeters" to walk through the party serving fresh berries and Greek yogurt parfaits to all of the guests.   

Dane Sanders , author and speaker truly inspired our crowd with his very personal and motivating presentation. 

 Lastly, with this much beauty and excitement I just knew that we had to add a Bride & Groom model into the mix.  I was so happy when my intern: Annamarie and her boyfriend Vinny said YES to modeling.  (special thank you to Annamarie's mom for saying it was okay for her 19 year daughter to ROCK out a wedding dress ;) Annamarie's beautiful gown was provided by Labella Bridal Boutique.   Mary Zarob, of S.W. Wilson Bespoke Clothier has a custom suit created for our Groom model. 

 

The Outcome:

If I can be totally honest, this particular event was an exhilarating total booty kicker for me.  Whenever you host an event for the "Industry" it's completely different than working with my clients.  Don't get me wrong, I put an tremendous amount of energy and love into all of my events...but industry events involve a lot of PRESSURE.  Reason being, the guests attending these events aren't as necessarily easy to "WOW" because they work/live/breath in this wild world.  This means I have to try and find ways to impress and entertain them with things that they haven't seen or experienced before.   

But the really cool part about hosting an industry event, is the outcome.  These people KNOW how much work goes into all of these moving pieces.  I was so appreciative for all the amazing feedback that I received.  Thank you so much to the WIPA Board for asking me to be the Event Chair, thank you to all of the incredible CREATIVE partners that collaborated with me on this, and thank you so much to my team members: April, Melissa, Renata & Christina who showed up at the crack of dawn that morning to SUPPORT me and help me with this event.  This will go down in history as one of my favorite events of all time. 

Link to event video: https://mediazilla.com/ios0ftxb0

 

Photographer: Andrew + Jade Photography | Venue: Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch | Florist: Butterfly Petals | Stationary: Posh Invitations | Calligraphy: Freedhands | Rentals & Décor: Glamour & Woods | Hair & Make Up: Linda Valenzuela | Bride's Dress: La Bella Bridal | Groom's Suit: SW Wilson Bespoke Clothiers | Speaker: Dane Sanders | Event Chair: Jennifer Starr | Cinema: Serendipity Cinematography | Linens: Southwick Linens | Lighting: Karma Event Lighting | Photobooth: Crusin' Photo Bus | Entertainment: Desert House Entertainment | Entertainment: Gypsy Cup | Entertainment: Champagne Creative 

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Long

This past winter I had the joy of working with Steven and Lora on their gorgeous wedding.  They choose the incredibly romantic Royal Palms Resort to serve as their wedding location.  I worded mostly with Emilla (the Mother of the Bride) she was so funny and had great taste and I could have listened to her accent lovely accent all day. 

Lora and Steven also had amazing style and true admiration for each other.  One of my favorite memories of that day was getting a glimpse of the slideshow that Steven had made to surprise Lora.  When Lora entered her Bridal Suite guestroom that day, Steven had a slideshow pre staged on her television along with a card. I especially appreciate Steven's sweet gesture as I think he chose the perfect time to have this presented to Lora.  You see, as a Bride the morning and afternoons are filled with so much hustle and bustle as nerves and emotions are high.  But once Lora was onsite at the gorgeous property and she able to relax for a moment in her room, that's when she was presented with the thoughtful gift from her groom, absolutely perfect. 

I also admired how Steven and Lora wanted to take a moment to themselves before joining their cocktail to simple relax and be together for a few moments.  They both just seemed so in tune with the moments that really matter, I really admired that about them.  Visiting all of their guests at their tables during dinner was also very important to this couple, they wanted their guests to feel welcome and appreciated. 

The reception was like a dream, complete with floral chandeliers,  beautiful linens and endless candlelight.  Steven and Lora's Wedding Day was beautiful and meaningful, my most favorite combination.  Congratulations again Steven & Lora, I hope you are enjoying your first year as Newlyweds. 

 

VIEW: Video Highlight

 

Photography: Katrina Wallace Photographers  | Venue: Royal Palms Resort | Florist: Avant-Garde Floral Design Studio |  Cinema: Serendipty | Entertainment: Got You Covered | Officiant: Matt Nathanson |  Wedding Planner: Jennifer Starr & Team

Budget + Guest List Before Venue Selection

The best way for a Bride to completely overwhelm herself is by trying to choose the venue BEFORE she has come up with a budget estimate and the guest list.

That's because looking at venues and getting excited about all the creative aspects of wedding planning is more fun than number crunching and deciding who you like and who you just kinda like.

But believe me as a former bride myself and as a Wedding Planner who has had heart to heart discussions with several brides....I'm telling you...You MUST establish your budget and guests list FIRST.

Ask Yourself These Questions:
(Budget Related) What is your ideal wedding budget?
(Budget Related) What is most important to you? 
(Budget Related) Is it having all of your friends and family there? 
(Budget Related) Is it being able to put a lot into the design and décor?
(Budget Related) Is it being able to have your dream dress?
(Budget Related) Is it being able to have it at the venue of your dreams?
(Budget Related) Is it being able to host a bar for all your guests? 
(Budget Related) What are areas that you're flexible on?
 
(Venue Related) Where do you want to get married? Location in terms of city and state?
(Venue Related) Will your Ceremony take place in a Church or the same location as the Reception?
(Venue Related) How many guests do you plan on inviting?
(Venue Related) Out of those guests how many do you anticipate actually attending?
(Venue Related) Out of those guests how many are children?
(Venue Related) Out of those guests how many are under 21?

Then ask your Wedding Planner is this a realistic budget?  Your Wedding Planner (hopefully yours truly) will explain to what your options are, where you need to increase and decrease. Your planner will then be able to give you a list of optional venues that match what you are looking for...Your planner will then help you determine areas that you're willing to possibly cut back in order to make room for other areas that are more important to  you.  Your Planner will save you tons of time and heartache (from getting your hopes up on aspects that might not fit into your budget).  Your Planner will be able to help you set realistic expectations and help you start to see the vision of your wedding day more clearly. 

 

My Top 5 Romantic Reasons to Visit the Royal Palms

Recently I had the chance to stay at the lavishly romantic Royal Palms Resort and Spa.  After holding many weddings here for my amazing clients, I finally had the opportunity to enjoy the resort myself, and let me tell you~ it was truly heavenly.  I was treated to a "Wedding Planner Fam" (meaning a "Familiarization Stay") at the property. From the moment I stepped foot on property I was wined, dined, and oh so spoiled.  The first night included a "Royal Luau" complete with an over the top canopy of greenery, lanterns, and white floral.  The evening was paired with an amazing four course dinner and a live fire dancing island performance. 

The next morning we were treated to breakfast in the Alegria Garden, a spot where I've walked a good handful of my clients down the aisle.  There was a beautiful low table, stunning flowers, live musicians & even more delicious cuisine and flowing cocktails.  After brunch I was treated to a massage at the beautiful Alvadora Spa, and afterwards I finally felt 100% relaxed.  Then it was time for the pool party complete with yummy food and endless antioxidant mojitos and the chance to relax and chat with many of my fellow Wedding Planner friends. 

The evening ended with a cocktail reception out on the Palmera Patio with again...plentiful food & drinks.  By that time my husband had joined me on property and we stayed an additional two nights and soaked up all that the incredible Royal Palms Resort offered. 

 

This experience inspired me to share some of my top reasons why you need to visit the Royal Palms~ especially if you're looking for a unique experience for your upcoming wedding reception, anniversary dinner, or next staycation.

 

Let me share with you some of my romantic discoveries~

 1.) The Entrance~ The moment you pull into the Royal Palms Resort, you feel the magic. The resort sits at the base of the majestic Camelback Mountain and when you first pull in you are greeted by the original "Royal Palms Mansion" that was built in 1929.  You feel as if you're driving into someone's Spanish Colonial private estate rather than a resort.

You are instantly greeted by the most friendly valet attendants and bellmen.  The resort's front desk feels nothing like your traditional corporate hotel...it's nestled in a small cozy room with beautiful furniture, a fireplace, and a display of signature beverages and cookies~ you instantly feel at home.  

2.) The Love Story~ Oh the Royal Palms Love Story, I may be a sucker for romance but the tale of this beautiful place is really quite special. Did you know that it was built out of an act of love by a husband whose wife was ill and her health required warmer climates?  This couple (Delos & Florence Cooke) were garden lovers and used the majority of their household budget to include rare plants and over 900 palms trees from Egypt, many of which are still standing there today.   

3.) The Hidden Twists & Turns~ Of the many times I've worked at the Royal Palms and even after my recent visit, I've noticed a common feeling ~privacy.  The unique layout of the resort has so many different twists, turns, pathways, patios...that you never really see many people at the resort.  You almost feel as if you have the entire place to yourself. 

4.) The Service~ Many of the staff members have worked at the Royal Palms for years and they always remember me.  Talk about making you feel special and welcome!  This is especially important on Wedding days. It's very apparent that the teams realize how incredibly special these days are for couples and treat them with top notch service!

5.) The Overall Experience ~From the cuisine, the spa, the pool, the rooms.....the entire experience is so romantic and refreshing.  It was honestly hard for me to leave, but thankfully I'll be back soon for some upcoming fall weddings.

 

A special thank you goes out to Emily Anzalone & Nora Narkevic (Event Sales Managers of the Royal Palms Resort) for treating me and my husband to this extraordinary extended weekend.  Thank you for making me fall in love with the Royal Palms Resort even more.

 

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Gagliano

Christina and Anthony began their romance while in college.  They went to high school together but never dated and reconnected on Facebook.  Anthony "liked" one of Christina's photos and soon after they began chatting regularly.

In high school, Christina said her first impression of Anthony was that he was quiet but was the popular guy in every single sport. Later, she saw him as handsome guy that she wanted to know more about so she dropped by his work (Papa Johns) for a few minutes to see how cute in person he still was!

Christina and Anthony started officially dating when he asked Christina for her number on Facebook.  She responded with it and said "I don't play games" so he texted her right after that.  Anthony asked her to be his girlfriend when they were outside his house one evening. He had an upcoming family get together and asked if he could introduce Christina as his girlfriend.  And of course she said yes!

During their dating relationship, the pair spent everyday with each other!  Right around the time they started dating, Christina's childhood friend, Lakota (a guy), came to live with her for a year. Anthony was skeptical at first due to the fact that his girlfriend had a boy living with her and her family but thankful, Lakota and Anthony became best friends instantly. Christina and Anthony eventually moved to Arizona together after just over a year of dating and continued their relationship for three and a half years.

Christina knew Anthony was "the one" about two weeks in when she remembered thinking "there's something different about this one" and had a feeling she was going to marry him one day.  

The couple's engagement took place at a beautiful castle in Germany.  One month before they went on the trip, Christina asked Anthony when he was thinking about taking the next step with her.  She wanted to be sure they were on the same page.  He said he wanted to wait two years so he could finish paying off his car and a few other items before buying a ring.  Christina understood but told her family and friends that she had to wait another two years.  Little did she know, Anthony had already finished paying off his car and had had the ring custom created.

On the trip to Germany (for Anthony's family vacation), the couple went to tour a castle. While they were taking photos on a bench in a courtyard, Anthony turned to Christina and said "I love you" with a smile on his face.  She replied "I love you too." He said "do you love me a lot?" and she jokingly said "I love you a little." He smirked and said "would you love me more if I told you two years would come sooner?" Confused, Christina replied "no?" He replied "would you love me more if I told you two years would come today?" Still confused she answered "I wouldn't believe you." Anthony then turned and said "would you believe me if I pulled the ring out of my pocket?" At this time Christina was in shock and exclaimed "no!" He reached into his pocket and pulled out a little black box. He stepped off the bench onto one knee and while opening the box asked "will you marry me?" She said yes! They hugged and kissed for a minute and then Christina realized that Anthony's mom and step dad had got the whole thing on camera.  They have some amazing photos of this moment!

Christina said that the most special thing about the engagement was that Anthony wanted to spend his life with her. Out of all the people in this world somehow they had found each other and he picked Christina to be his wife. 

Christina then began planning her special day.  Being that she is in the wedding industry herself, she had seen a lot of trends.  She still went on Pinterest (a lot!) to find what they really loved. The couple knew they wanted it to be outdoors with bistro lights for that romantic starry look. They chose their special day due to the fact that it had the best ratings for good weather. Their "theme" was Fun-Romance and they planned their colors to be Marsala, blush, champagne, gold and ivory.  They had Italian stations for dinner and the couple is still getting compliments on how great it was! Christina and Anthony also chose to have a DJ and MC and then, as a surprise, had two T-Rex's come out on the dance floor during the reception! They also had lawn games such as giant Connect Four and giant Jenga along with corn hole and a ring toss. 

For the couple, the moment that stood out to them the most about their wedding day was the vows! Christina and Anthony read their own vows out loud. They both had a line in their own that was similar to the other's.  When looking back 50 years from now on their wedding day, Christina cherishes the memory of an amazing day with her husband and the special dance with her dads.  She also wishes to remember seeing all of the couples on the dance floor swaying to slow songs and being surrounded by such love.

In their next chapter in life, Christina is most looking forward to traveling for three upcoming weddings in the next year (St Augustine, Orlando and Columbia) and then the couple's own honeymoon in Hawaii.  They also hope to buy a home soon! At the end of it all, Christina said her favorite part of the day is crawling into bed, turning on the TV and cuddling with her HUSBAND.

Photographer (images as shown above): Steph Wahlig Photography | Photographer: Lennon Photography | Venue: Seville Golf and Country Club | Florist: Designs by Jen Colvin  | Beauty: Courtney Ness | Wedding Cake: Crumbs Cake Boutique | Cinema: Amoroma Productions | Photobooth: SnapBooth | Entertainment: Got You Covered | Lighting: Arizona UpLighting | Games: Curtis Whipple | Dress: Stella York via Bella Lily BridalGroom/Groomsmen Attire: Mr. Formal | Officiant: Uncle Bret | Rentals & Décor: Material Girls | Rentals & Décor: Native Events | Wedding Planner: Jennifer Starr & Team

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Davies

For Megan & Zach it all started shortly after high school, when they both attended a friend's graduation party.  Zach, being the smart guy he is, made the first move by asking a friend for Megan's number.  It didn't take long for them both to realize that marriage was in their future.  After a couple months in, they knew that what they had was extremely special. 

Zach and Megan dated for five years before getting engaged.  What really sealed the deal for them was being thrown into a long distance relationship and becoming even stronger because of it. Zach's baseball career was taking off and Megan was completing her studies at Arizona State University.  Although there were many trials of being in a long distance relationship, this only strengthened them all the more.  Megan was committed to being Zach's biggest fan and enduring the travels and joys of being immersed in the baseball world. 

Zach proposed in Seattle, Washington.  There, he took Megan to Alki Beach during the sunset.  Zach, had cleverly arranged to have Megan "FaceTime" with her best friend.  Her best friend had dressed Megan & Zach's dog's up, and even had a sign behind them that said “Will You Marry Me?”  This, was a surprise to Megan.  Though she had an idea that Zach could be proposing soon, she had no idea when. Zach's proposal meant so much to her because he involved their beloved dogs; Zooey and Penelope.  Megan herself is a huge animal lover and their dogs are considered their children, so having them a part of the engagement was very special to her. 

Megan and Zach chose El Chorro in Paradise Valley for their wedding location. The moment they stepped foot onto the property they both knew they wanted to get married there.  Their wedding date of December 3rd, 2016 was chosen because it was "off season" for baseball.  Megan tends to "freeze" quite easily and was concerned about it being too cold, but as it turned out they were delivered a gorgeous 70 degree wedding day.

Megan really wanted her overall look for the wedding to compliment their chosen venue.  They chose El Chorro because of it's incredible desert landscape and view of Camelback Mountain.  Her main focus when planning the design elements was to make sure that they weren't drawing their guests attention away from the natural beauty of the venue but still giving it that extra touch for a more romantic feel. 

Looking back on the wedding day now, Megan and Zach both agree that their most special day was genuinely perfect and felt like a dream, the best dream you could possibly ever imagine.  They had many out of town guests that flew in for their wedding day.  Zach and Megan say that "knowing that so many people from all over the country came to be there for our wedding day was very special for the both of us."

The newlyweds are now most excited about "being together, especially during his baseball season ~ no more long distance!"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographer: Daniel Kim | Venue: El Chorro | Florist: Sarah's Garden | Hair: Ashley Petty Hair | Make Up: Amanda Bland | Wedding Cake: a Bakeshop | Cinema: Cineprose Films | Entertainment: Bolt Entertainment | Entertainment: Emotion String Quartet | Photo Booth: Foto Booth Bus | Stationary: Freed Hands | Travel & Accommodations: JW Marriott Camelback | Brides's Gown: Hayley Paige | Groom's Suit: Magro Clothing | http://magroclothing.com/ | Wedding Planner: Jennifer Starr & Team, J.Starr Stylized Weddings

 

 

A Love Note to My Valentines...

Dear Justin, Hannah, Emma & Hunter,

 

 Happy Valentine's Day My Loves!

Wow, how did I ever deserve 4 Valentines?  You all fill my heart with more joy than I ever imagined and today I thought I'd share with you a few reasons why....

Hannah & Emma~

At age four, you two are really something else.  And to see you two together, as best friends....laughing and scheming everyday is quite a sight.  The love you have for each other is a relationship that is like no other.  One minute you two are in your own little world, deeply entrenched in whatever kind of imaginary game you are playing, the next minute you're completely enraged at each other for often time situations that I can't ever really figure out....only to be best buddies again moments later. 

Currently your favorite things to do are: color, paint, play outside in the backyard, help us to cook meals, and you LOVE to decorate for the holidays with me.  Your favorite toys at the moment are: your remote control dinosaur, your "dolly" house, STICKERS (they're currently all over nearly every wall of the house), and your puzzles. 

Funny things you say...Emma, whenever you get mad (like really mad) at your sister, I hear you call her "an old lady" in your meanest most serious voice.  "Awe, come here you old lady!"  I have NO idea where your heard this or WHY you say this but it makes me laugh so hard!

Justin,

Forever my valentine.  Just when we thought life couldn't get any wilder.....Hunter Dean came along and rocked our worlds.  Little did I know I would fall in love with you even more deeply.  Seeing you become a Dad has been one of the most heartfelt things that I've experienced.  Seeing you with them....seeing you all happy...is my ultimate joy. 

You my love, are an incredible husband and an amazing father.  Our family is happy (and functional) because of you.  Thank you for loving us. 

My Little Hunter,

Where in the world did you come from and where have you been all my life?  YOU little boy, have completely stolen my heart.  I melt every time I see your smile.  And your SMILE is one in a million. People stop in their tracks anytime I take you anywhere and you flash your GIANT smile. 

You are the happiest little guy and our family is so much more complete with YOU.  You have  captured the heart of not only me, but also your sisters and your daddy. 

Hannah Jane,

My little HJ, my little Nanna.....

You remain so "tough" yet so "Intense."  Your personality still reminds me so much of your Daddy.  You are so focused, patient, and determined at whatever the task is you're working on.  Yet, when you wrap your arms around me, bat your eyelashes and say "I love you Mommy" your "toughness" melts away.  I love the way you run, I love to watch you concentrate when you draw.  You're quite the little artist...in fact your entire room currently has your "art gallery" displayed in it.  You still hold tight to your "Piggie" and every night when you go to bed you have "Piggie" next to you and you rub his soft ears.   

Trikes and Tutus...my dainty little rough and tough girls.

Emma Louise,

My Emmie Lou, my little Lou Who.....

YOU are such a goofball.  Honestly little girl, I never understood myself as much before until I met YOU.  Granted I don't think I've been as naturally goofy as you are, but you definitely have similar personality traits as your mama.  You love people and parties.  You always want to know "what are we gonna do next?"  and then you say "OH, that would be so FUN, I so excited!!"  When you get your mind set on something....LOOK OUT world, you're not  giving up on your idea easily, that's for sure.  You always care about others...especially your sister.  You're always making sure that if something is given to you, you always ask "for Hannah's too?"  Me and your Daddy never really know what you're going to say or do next, you keep us on our toes that for sure. 

On Sunday we kept our Valentine's Day tradition.  This has been something we've been doing since Hannah and Emma were born.  Emma at first was terrified of the "baboons." She once saw one float away and has yet to recover from that tragic accident.  But despite the fear of the "baboons" she eventually warmed up to them. 

Hunter just went with the flow. Just like he always does.  He was born into a loud, constant family and just fits right in quite perfectly. 

 

 And my little tornado twosome...loved every moment. They're always excited for fun times and new adventures!

Happy Valentines Day to my Sweet Little Family,


Thank you all for being MINE.  I love you all so much and feel so lucky that I get to spend every wild and crazy day with all of you.  I love you all more than my heart can handle, you are my everything.

LOVE, Mom.

P.S. Hunter, you better stop being SO CUTE!!!

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. Sabouneh

Misty was completely relaxed on her wedding day and ready to marry her best friend.  She'd been awaiting this day for a long time and the day was finally here!

Misty's bridesmaids were quite stunning and all wore long beautiful gowns by Bill Levkoff.  Misty's gown was by Katie May and looked like absolute perfection on Misty.  All the beautiful floral details were the creative work of Avant- Garde.

Ryan looked very dapper and handsome.  He was so excited to see Misty.  He had actually proposed to Misty nearly two years in the same garden at the Royal Palms where they would now get married. 

Not only was Misty relaxed and happy she also looked luminous. 

Misty and Ryan's color choices paired so nicely with the beautiful twists and turns of the enchanting Royal Palms Resort.

Finally it was time for Ryan and Misty to have their "First Look."

Misty was ready and Ryan couldn't wait any longer. 

Finally, it was time....time to as Ryan would say "lock down this unicorn."

Once they saw each other for the first time they both seemed all the more relaxed and ready. 

And right about this time...the weather started getting a little crazy....

The wind was blowing, lightening was striking, and few raindrops had started falling. 

We were either going to proceed with the scheduled ceremony time, or do a "reverse" cocktail hour and let the storm pass.  Misty made the final call and said "let's do this, and let's do this now."

At that time Misty had changed out of her dress and shoes (to be comfortable) and all of her Bridesmaids were still dressed. 

Misty got back into her dress and shoes, while her girls were doing touch ups, looking for shoes, and packing up their purses and such.

All of a sudden with olympic speed, Misty comes walking through the doorway, completely dressed, before all of her girls and starts walking towards the Ceremony Site.  At that time her girls in record time came chasing after her.  It was quite an impressive thing to witness.

Misty was all smiles and ready to marry Ryan. 

As the wind welcomed her down the aisle, Misty was handed off to her best friend.  The Ceremony was performed by one of Misty and Ryan's dear friends. 

Everything about their ceremony was personalized, so meaningful, and yet so fun.

They were now "official."

It was time to celebrate!

They were so relieved and so happy. 

The guests enjoyed cocktail hour the newlyweds snuck a few romantic photos. 

The Royal Palms was so perfect as it has so many romantic twists and turns. 

Everything about the resort felt so private and special. 

These two had been waiting a long time for this moment. 

As their relationship started as friends, and grew into best friends. 

The night continued with a delicious meal.  The main course was a duet entrée of petite beef tenderloin paired with a butter roasted jumbo shrimp. 

At the end of the night they even surprised all of their guests with a late night fare display of house made pizza, (pizza is a big deal to Misty & Ryan) tenderloin sliders and potato fries. 

It was quite evident how loved Misty and Ryan are by their family and friends.  It's safe to say that these two will continue dancing through life and laughing together every step of the way. 

 

 

 

 

CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS INCLUDE:

Photography By: Chard Photographer

Hair & Make Up By: Michael Franco

Floral By: Avant-Garde Floral Design Studio

Bride's Gown: Katie May Collection

Venue: Royal Palms Resort

Planning: J.Starr Stylized Weddings

3 Steps to Build a Beautiful Foundation for Your Reception

 (Photo By Rachel Solomon Photography)

 

Steps to Build a Beautiful Foundation for Your Reception 

Yeah, you've officially booked your venue and your wedding date! Congratulations, that is a huge check mark on the "to do" list! What do you do next?  Well, often times after a venue search things can be left very scrambled in your head.  But please don’t start overwhelming yourself by jumping ahead…let’s start with your foundation.


1.)    Confirm what’s included.
Read thru your venue notes and your contract.  Make a list of everything that’s included with your venue.  What do the chairs look like for the ceremony, what about the reception?  What type of existing furniture does the venue already have in place?  What type of linens are included?  Are they lap length or floor length? What colors do they come in? What about napkins?  Does the venue offer any type of centerpiece options?  What about vases?  Do they offer candles?  Uplights?  What are the table options? Really understand everything that is included and everything that is not included, before you move forward with any of your décor decisions. 

2.)    Decide on Your Colors
Really consider your venue, the season, and your overall personal style.  It’s important that your colors work with your venue and not against it.  It’s important to consider the season due to weather and your floral options.  And of course you’ll definitely what your colors to reflect you and the style that speak to you.  


3.)    Select Your Linens
Start by choosing your linens.  This will be helpful for you do even before selecting your bridesmaid’s dresses or invitations.  Decide on whether or not you’d like to use the linens that are provided by the venue of if you’d like to upgrade to specialty linens.  Linens make a HUGE impact on the overall look of your reception, and the options are endless.  I recommend making an appointment with a rental company to visit their showroom in person.  Once you’ve selected your linens, your foundation for your reception will be laid and you can then begin building on top of it with all the other beautiful layers (floral, beautiful menus and paper products, and candlelight.)


With Sincerity & Style,
        Jennifer Starr, J.Starr Stylized Weddings

Honest Ways to Alleviate Stress in the Final Stages

(Photo By: Brooke Photography)

Hello Friends ~

Especially those friends in the middle of planning a wedding...

First of all, please allow me to give you a virtual hug and a pat on the back. I understand planning a wedding is hard, it’s time consuming, and it never ends. It really is like having a second job, especially if you haven’t hired a wedding planner. So let’s talk about ways to alleviate some of that stress in your final stages, shall we?

 1. You can skip the cake tasting
It is a fun part of the process, but if you don’t have time, skip it. Request a phone appointment, email over some design ideas that you have, and select your cake flavor without actually tasting them. Chances are they’ll still be delicious, if you’ve chosen a reputable company.

2. Surrender the Party Favors.
Honestly, most of them end up being left on the tables at the end of the night and get tossed out anyways.

 3. Allow the DJ to Select Your Music.
Inform the DJ of the genre of music you like and let he/she do the rest. They know the songs that get dance floors moving.

 4. Let go of the seating chart and paper products.
If you didn’t hire a professional to design these for you (and you were planning on creating these items yourself) let it go. Open seating will be just fine.

 5. Stop looking at Pinterest!
Remove that app off your phone until the wedding day is over. The colors you have chosen are perfect, your dress is perfect, your guest book is perfect. Seriously, please do not torture yourself by flooding your brain with every wedding idea in the world.

6. Ask for Help.
Again, if you didn’t already hire a wedding planner, you still have time. Many planners (myself included) offer a “Final Planning” service. This will save you loads of stress and worry and will be an investment that you will never forget. This is meant to be a fun time in your life, let a professional help you bring this beautiful day to life for you.

Until next week,
Jennifer Starr
J.Starr Stylized Weddings

3 Advantages to Doing a "First Look"

(Photo by Chard Photography)

Today let’s discuss one of the first questions your photographer is likely to ask you:
Do you want to do a First Look (sometimes called a First Meeting) or do you want to do a Traditional Timeline?
What does this mean?
A First Meeting = You see each other before the ceremony in your formal attire.
A Traditional Meeting = You wait and see each other at the ceremony.
What are my thoughts? Bottom line, you must do what feels right in your gut. Yes, there certainly are many advantages to doing a First Meeting but you must be comfortable with this idea.
Advantages Include:

1. Calming the Nerves
Every single wedding I’ve been involved with, always includes lots of nerves before the couple sees each other for the first time. The very moment they set eyes on each other and embrace, you can instantly see the nerves fall away, they relax their shoulders, loosen their smiles, and breath. It’s as if in that moment they remember what it’s really all about.  Often times seeing each other before the ceremony helps the couple to enjoy more of their day because they are relaxed.
 
2. More time with Family and Friends
Great news, once you’ve done your “First Meeting” you can then take your family and bridal party photos BEFORE the ceremony. This is a huge PLUS. Everyone has fresh hair, make up, attention spans and they’re still SOBER (hopefully).
 
3.The Golden Light is Spent Just on YOU!
With all of the family and bridal party photos done, this means the Photographer gets to spend a nice chunk of time with you two during the best lighting of the day! Just imagine how beautiful your wedding photos will be! Your family and bridal party will actually get to enjoy the cocktail hour while you get in some alone time together (along with your photographer). Having your VIPS be a part of the cocktail hour definitely creates a better overall energy with all of your guests. Your family will love being able to mingle with all of your guests and your bridal party will definitely appreciate being “off duty” during this time.


Happy Planning
Jennifer Starr

J.Starr Stylized Weddings

3 Small Items Most Couples Forget on their Wedding Day

Photo: Still Life Studios, Bouquet: Wild Child Floral Design

1. Card holder
Yes, something to “hold” your cards (which most likely will contain money). Consider a basket, a bird cage, a decorative box—basically anything that can serve as a holding device to keep all your valuable cards from floating all over your gift table. This doesn’t have to be a tacky white box, it can certainly be something stylish that blends nicely with the rest of your décor. It’s a good idea to assign a family member or best friend to look after this item.


2. Specialty pens
Consider what type of pens you would like your guests to use for signing your guest book (or guest book alternatives). Couples often spend time and money on beautiful keepsake materials but forget about the pens, guests often end up having to use a ball point pen from the resort’s front desk.


3. Remove all the wrapping and price tags
Remove all the wrapping/packaging and price tags ahead of time. This will save you, your wedding planner, or the catering staff tons of precious time on the day of your wedding. Consider these items and anything else you might have incorporated; photo frames, favor boxes, unity candle, champagne flutes, dress, jewelry, garters, etc. Have all of your personal items “show ready."
 

 


Until next time,
Jennifer Starr
J.Starr Stylized Weddings

Biggest Regrets Couples Have After the Wedding

Photo: Still Life Studios


Hi Friends,
Let’s talk about regrets, uggh such a sad word but yes regrets do happen after the wedding day. I’m thankful for those couples who have shared their regrets with me so that I can share with you today in hopes that you DO NOT end up having the same ones!


Not eating any food
Sounds silly right? But it’s not. Couples get so caught up in the momentum and excitement of the day, that they don’t eat much, if at all. The truth is a wedding day is exhausting mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s very easy to start feeling ill if you’re under-nourished. I always encourage couples to be sure and eat a good breakfast and lunch, even if you don’t “feel hungry”. It’s imperative that you keep your energy up.


Getting wrapped up in small things that don’t matter
There are a million details that go into a wedding day. Chances are one or two things may not go exactly as you had planned. The cake may end up looking different than you imagined, maybe your sister is running late and holding up photos… whatever the case may be, try to relax. You only get ONE wedding day, don’t let little surprises ruin your day.


Not hiring a videographer
The day goes by so incredibly fast. And while the photos help to tell the story, video captures an entirely different way of storytelling. Having video captured of your most treasured times is truly invaluable. Being able to hear voices, laughter, see emotions and movement are beautiful memories.


Not having a moment to take it all in
If at all possible be sure to “plan” for this moment. Request to step into your reception space before the ceremony. Walk thru the room, look at the all the fine details, peek out at the crowd of guests awaiting your entrance down the aisle.


Not hiring a wedding planner
It truly breaks my heart when I hear brides say “I barely saw my mom the entire day because she was so busy coordinating the day and setting things up”. This day is not only special for the couple getting married but also for their loved ones. Hiring a professional to ensure that all your special moments are carried out the way you dreamed, is the best investment you can make for your wedding.
 
Until next time,
Jennifer Starr J.Starr Stylized Weddings

3 Tips for Regaining Control When You Feel Overwhelmed with the Planning Process

Photo: Still Life Studios


Dear Lovely Couples Planning a Wedding,


You deserve exceptional service, period. I often hear couples say that they’re afraid to ask vendors a question, nervous to speak up and express an option, or hesitant to request a change.  I’m here to tell you, that’s nuts! Please remember that just because wedding planning details can become overwhelming and sometimes intimidating doesn’t mean that you’re not in charge. Here are three things you can do to regain control when you’re feeling lost.


1). Review you Wedding Checklist
Sometimes just simply checking items off of your list (physically checking off, with a paper and a pen) can reassure you that you are getting things done.


2). Consult an Expert
If you’re feeling unsure about a specific area, ask a professional (that specializes in another area) for their opinion. Vendors love to offer their suggestions and know a lot more about other areas of the industry than you might think. An example: If you feel uncertain about some of the ideas/activities that your DJ presents to you, ask your photographer for their opinion. Photographers have been a part of multiple receptions and will definitely give you honest feedback.


3). Take a Minute
If you don’t like something, that’s okay. Trust your gut. Don’t feel pressured into making decisions on the spot. If you need time to think over something (for example “First Meeting” vs. “Traditional Timeline”) that is okay. Your hired vendor will respect your uncertainty and should allow you time to think over your options.
 
 
Until next time,
Jennifer Starr, J.Starr Stylized Weddings

Things That May Alarm You When Planning Your Wedding (Part Two)

Photo: Still Life Studios


A Bridal Party Member drops out
It happens, it happens all the time. Try not to let this upset you too much. Being in a wedding is a big commitment, time wise and financially. Just because someone can no longer be involved, doesn’t mean that they don’t love you and cherish your friendship.
 
Having Equal Party Members
Remember, your bridal party “numbers” (amounts on each side) don’t have to be equal. There are no set rules. It is much more important that you do what “feels” right, it is not necessary to worry about what you think will “look” right.
 
Rain in Forecast
It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it can really rock a couples’ world on a wedding day. This is why it’s extremely important to always make sure that the venue you choose has a contingency plan for bad weather. Try and keep this in the back of your mind while planning. Sometimes “indoor” spaces can look quite romantic, especially with the rain falling outside. Just know at the end of the day, you can only control so much. Your day, becomes your story.
 
Being Over Budget
I’ve never once heard a person say, “oh wow, planning a wedding is less expensive than I thought it was going to be.” Weddings are expensive and there are a lot of expenses that pop up along the way. It is critical to lay out your budget ahead of time before you book anything. This will save you a lot of time and heartache along the way.
 
 
Until next time,
Jennifer Starr, J.Starr Stylized Weddings

Things That May Alarm You When Planning Your Wedding (Part One)

Photo: StepOnMe Photography        Venue: Grayhawk Golf Club


Allotted Hours on Property for Set Up:
                  It’s an industry standard that most venues allow your vendors to arrive and set up two hours prior to the start of the ceremony. Yes, it’s true. It sounds like a minimal amount of time, but remember you’re working with professionals who set up events every single weekend. They know how to set up a room like well-oiled machine. This includes not only the venue, but also the florist, the dj, etc. This is the case when you’ve truly hired professionals. This only becomes problematic if you’re attempting to go the DIY route.
(A great reason to hire a Wedding Planner!)
 
Catering Managers Leaving:
                  Yes, it’s true. While yes you have a contract with the venue, you don’t have a contract with a person. It is common for catering managers to transfer properties, have babies, and even leave the industry. This can often times be upsetting when you learn “your person” is no longer going to be at your venue.
(Another great reason to hire a Wedding Planner!)
 
Your Officiant Not Attending Your Ceremony Rehearsal:
                  This is very common. Often times officiants will charge an additional fee if you want them to attend your rehearsal. But don’t worry, it’s not necessary to go over your entire ceremony, in fact in my opinion this takes away from the wedding day. The most important part of a ceremony is the lining up, walking in, standing in the right place, and walking out. These are things that your officiant is not responsible for doing.
(And again another great reason to hire a Wedding Planner!)
 
 
Until next time,
Jennifer Starr, J.Starr Stylized Weddings

5 Styling Secrets to a Luxury Wedding Look on a Moderate Budget

Photo By: Still Life Studios, Linens By: Southwick Linens, Floral By: Flower Bar

1) CHOSE A VENUE THAT YOU LOVE
Yes, your venue will serve as the foundation for your wedding day. Choose a place that simply makes you feel good when you walk the property. Think about the entire experience, how you felt upon arrival, the grounds that you walked, the overall views, the service, and overall ambience. Often clients are “sticker shocked” by the price of their most desired venues, but guess what? If you choose a venue that you love, with lovely natural built-in features, you won’t have to spend a fortune transforming it.

2) LINENS
People tend to choose linens toward the end of the planning/design process when they should actually be the second thing you do, once the venue is selected. Linens are the second major part of your foundation. Pick colors that work within the space and with your color-scheme. Upgrading to floor length linens (meaning the table legs are covered) always give your reception a clean, polished, luxury look.

3) KEEP IT CLASSIC
Be cautious not to follow the current trends too heavily. Reason being, “trends” don’t often age very well. You don’t want to look back at your wedding one day and say “Wow, what was I thinking?” Now this doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate touches of fun trends, but when it comes to your overall design, “going classic” is always a safe way to build an overall beautiful and timeless look.

4) REPURPOSE BIG FLORAL PIECES
Pre-arrange with your florist and wedding planner to have your gorgeous large ceremony florals smoothly transported and reset into your reception during the cocktail hour. Yes, you can use the same floral arrangements and your guests will never know.

5) LIGHTING
Yes, up-lighting, bistro lights, and tons of candlelight can completely enhance any space. Include candlelight everywhere and in unexpected places to create a luxury experience. Up-lighting your reception walls can transform your event and really help to set the mood.

The Real Reasons Planners Want You to Hire Their Preferred Vendors

Photo: Ben & Kelly Photography       Floral: Avant-Garde Floral Design


Synergy
When a planner gets the chance to work with vendors that they’ve worked with before it definitely creates great synergy, not only on the wedding day but throughout the entire wedding planning experience.
                 
Trust
As a planner, you have to trust in an entire team (venue, photographer, florist, dj, etc) to do their job correctly on the wedding day. If something goes wrong it’s a reflection on the planner regardless of the situation. Not only is it a reflection, it is also the responsibility of the planner to then “fix” the problem on the spot the day of, making things behind the scenes very stressful. This is a huge source of concern when a planner goes into an event without established trust for the other vendors.
 
Shared Styles
A planner is going to select their preferred vendors based on similarities. This is in regards to their artistic abilities, their communication styles, and usually their experience levels. These shared styles then blend together very nicely to create an overall aesthetic look and feel.
 
 
Until next time,
Jennifer Starr, J.Starr Stylized Weddings

What to Ask During Your Entree Tasting

Let’s talk Entrée Tastings....

Often when you have booked a venue or a catering company, a complimentary Entrée Tasting is included. This is your chance to come in and sample the cuisine options for your wedding day and make your culinary decisions. This can often be a confusing time, so let’s dig in:

Photo: Still Life Studios

FAQS AND UNDERSTANDING THE LINGO

HORS D’OEUVRES
Q: How many hors d’oeuvres should we choose?
A: For a full cocktail hour, industry standard suggests five to six pieces per person.
Q: What is the difference between butler-passed hors d’oeuvres and a stationary display?
A: Butler-passed hors d’oeuvres are hand-passed and presented to your guests. Stationary displays are presented on a table that allows guests to help themselves.
Q: Can we offer both butler-passed hors d’oeuvres and stationary displays?
A: Absolutely! It is very common to offer both.

BAR
Q: What is a hosted bar package?
A: A hosted bar is when you pay a per person/per hour price for drinks.
Q: What is a hosted on consumption bar?
A: A hosted on consumption bar is the same as running a tab – as guests order drinks, they are then added to the total bill.
Q: What is a cash bar?
A: A cash bar is when your guests purchase their own drinks on a cash/credit card basis.
*Please note bar options can differ from property to property depending on the type of liquor license that they have.

Prior to attending your tasting, you’ll need to know a few things...

  • What is your required Food and Beverage Minimum (your contract should included this figure)
  • How many guests will be attending (best estimate)? Out of those guests, how many will be 2 and under? (Typically they are free) and how many are between the ages of (2 & 12) typically they qualify for kids pricing.
  • Go through your list and determine how many of your guests will be drinking alcohol.

Additional Questions to Ask:

  • Will there be a tip jar at the bar?
  • Will your staff pour wine or champagne during dinner?
  • What Vegetarian options do you offer?
  • What do you offer for children’s meals?
  • Do you charge a cake cutting fee? Will your team cut and serve our cake?

This portion of the planning process can be a bit overwhelming. Remember if you’ve hired a wedding planner, consider asking them to attend the Entrée Tasting with you. Otherwise try your best to really study the menu options ahead of time and don’t be shy to ask your Catering Manager or Chef many questions during the tasting.

3 Biggest Misconceptions About Hiring a Wedding Planner

1.) "I don't think I need a Wedding Planner."
 "I think I'm a fairly organized and creative person...I can plan my wedding and whatever I can't do on my own, I have friends and family to help."

Everyone needs and most importantly deserves a Wedding Planner. A Wedding Planner is the central nucleus of your Wedding Day. Without one, there is no guarantee that your wedding will run as smoothly as it would with a Wedding Planner. Plus, you want to enjoy every minute of that day. You don't want to spend your day answering questions from vendors or family members or guests.  An experienced Wedding Planner has planned hundreds of weddings and that wisdom is invaluable. Your family and friends also deserve to enjoy the day and not running around stressing about every detail.  Let the expert take great care of all of you. 

2.) "I can't afford a Wedding Planner."
"Weddings are expensive enough, why would I spend more money hiring a Wedding Planner?"

While Wedding Planners can be expensive, you will never regret the investment.  Wedding Planners will often times save you immense amounts of money in the long run.  Planners are well aware of the average price of all vendors and all things wedding related.  They can advise you on making wise decisions and educate you and your choices and options along the way.


3.) "I'm afraid a Wedding Planner will take over my Wedding".
"I want our Wedding day to be our vision, not someone else's."

A Wedding Planner will only help to best enhance your vision and serve as a huge resource.  Wedding Planners can help you to funnel through all your many ideas and stay on track so that you don't become buried and overwhelmed in all the details. 

 

{Featured Event} "Luxury Spa Infused Cocktail Party at the Sanctuary

WIPA: "LUXURY SPA INFUSED" COCKTAIL PARTY

Event Chair: Jennifer Starr, J.Starr Stylized Weddings
Venue Host: Sanctuary Resort

Thursday evening, I had the honor of serving as the Event Chair for the WIPA Cocktail Party.  Planning an event like this is so much fun for me because in a sense I get to play! I was able to create the concept, select my creative partner team, and bring my vision to life from start to finish.  This is like "Christmas Morning" to a Wedding Designer. 

When the WIPA committee told me this event would take place at the Sanctuary Resort I was thrilled.  Have you been to this property?  It is truly something special; the moment you step foot on this property, you instantly feel so relaxed.  The way that this venue is nestled in the mountains lends itself to some of the most spectacular desert views that I have ever seen. 

The concept I came up with was a "Luxury Spa Infused Cocktail Party."  In a sense, it's kind of an oxymoron.  I love, love, love taking ideas that are kind of opposite and pairing them together.  If you take a look back at some of my other design concepts you will see this tends to be a trend with me.  I knew two things for sure....this was a Cocktail Party (the first members only Cocktail Party that WIPA has ever hosted...which also encouraged 5 new Wedding Professionals to sign up!) and I needed to really incorporate the vibe of the property....thus "Luxury Spa Infused Cocktail Party" was born. 

The color scheme really served as the foundation for everything else.  I met with the talented Laurie Southwick of Southwick Linens to discuss options.  Laurie is truly a color expert and starting with the linens is incredibly important because it sets the foundation of everything else.  Laurie and I went back and fourth on many options.  We first looked at doing "traditional" spa like colors, but we both felt that they weren't fitting for a "cocktail party" that's why we moved to darker/cooler tones.  We finally decided on shades of pewter, grey, ivory, with a pop of sparkle. 

 

The next step was to select the furniture and rentals.  Again, because this wasn't a typical "sit down dinner" event, selecting the appropriate furniture pieces was crucial to giving this event the feel of a "cocktail party." I was so thrilled to partner with Glamour and Woods.  This company was founded by one of the valley's top interior designers and as you can see, their product line is quite exquisite. 

All the floral pieces were designed by Jan Dekker or Jan Dekker Designs.  I've had the joy of working with Jan on many beautiful weddings in the past.  She is a true artist and always goes the extra mile to make sure her creations are not only breathtaking but also appropriate and fitting to the overall design concept.  Jan met with the Glamour and Woods team ahead of time and selected vases and structures from their collection to pair with her floral. 

The outcome was stunning.  I just loved the sold hardwoods mixed with metal fine finishes, topped with flowing romantic floral pieces.  Jan's floral creations really brought a sense of softness and relaxation to the event setting.  The room was also set with several gorgeous vessel candles...really pulling in the feeling of a spa environment.

My most favorite design element was definitely the "Vase of Venus" provided by Rolando Espinoza of the Champagne Creative Group.  As guests first entered the room....their eyes were naturally directed to the front of the room where our live model was positioned up on top of a beautiful light up vase.  This over the top design piece really created a sense of relaxation yet glamour at the same time (yes! this makes me happy). 

And yes the photo to the right is yours truly...welcoming our guests and giving recognition to all my talented creative partners.  Bringing a group of "creatives" together to bring an experience to life is really a beautiful thing.  In fact, it's one of my most favorite things.

 

The Sanctuary provided a lovely spread of deliciousness...Seasonal Fruit Display, Summer Harvest Vegetable Basket, Domestic and International Cheeses with Artisan Breads, Melon Gazpacho, Seared Tuna on Cucumber Noodles, Chicken Satays, Bruschetta Bar, and Dessert Station.

I was thrilled to have Dave and Drea of Desert House Productions provide the music for the evening.  Desert House Productions is known for their upscale beats and bringing a modern edge into the event.

It was a truly a fantastic event.  The sights, the sounds, the smells...but mostly the people.  The room was filled with individuals who really appreciate an "experience." I received so many compliments that meant so much to me, because these guests aren't "normal" people.  This group of people are regulars at over the top weddings and events. 

 

Jennifer Newman of The Wellness Bar AZ provided an "Essential Oil Bar." Everyone was able to create their own custom bath salts to take home and enjoy.  Jennifer also provided all of the lovely paper details compliments of her business Envelope Envy.  It's always very important to communicate to your guests via delicate pretty signage. 

A Very Special Thank You to the Team of Creative Partners: (Left to Right/Front Row)  Jennifer Newman, Jan Dekker, (Me) Jennifer Starr, Rachel Soloman, Rolando Espinoza, Drea and Dave Strickler, (Back Row) Jennifer Dudones, Michael Dobbs, and Laurie Southwick. (Not pictured Taryn Pollock and Jeff Bills of Serendipity Cinema). 

A very special thank you to the Phoenix WIPA Board for asking and trusting me to Chair this special evening.  I'd also like to send a special thank you to Miss Emily Bollinger (My Intern) who spent many hours hammering this day out with me, rock star style.

P.S. There were many additional beautiful photos taken this evening, stay tuned I'll be sure and post the album to my facebook page very soon.


Luxury Spa Infused WIPA Cocktail Party Creative Partner Team:
 

Planner/Designer:  J.Starr Stylized Weddings
Venue: Sanctuary Resort Spa / Leah Digirolamo & Brittany Martenson
Photographer: Rachel Solomon Photography
Floral: Jan Dekker Designs
Furniture/Rentals: Glamour and Woods
DJ: Desert House Productions
Entertainment: Champagne Creative Group
Essential Oil Bar: The Wellness Bar, AZ
Cinematography: Serendipity Cinema
Paper Products: Envelope Envy
Specialty Linens: Southwick Linens
Draping: Event Rents
Hair and Make Up (on Me): Linda Valenzuela of Mia Cosmetics