Life is a special occasion

Wedding Gowns Under $250

It's been a few months since a Wedding Gowns Under $250 post and this dress is very similar to May's fab find. And to be totally honest, it is not priced under $250 but it is really stunning and not too much more expensive than the magic number.

When my brides ask me where to look for bridesmaids dresses, a rehearsal dress or possibly a second wedding dress one of the stores I refer them to is BCBG. Their clothing is not outrageously priced, you can find a store in your local mall and they have a great selection of dresses. So I wasn't surprised whatsoever when I was perusing through their evening affair attire and I came across this beautiful tiered satin gown. The strapless dress features cascading tiers, a sweetheart neckline and a lovely full-length silhouette with curved pleating at neckline... perfect for a wedding! Okay, so this number will set you back $298 bucks, $48 over my cutoff but I just couldn't pass up sharing this one - almost proving - that beautiful can be affordable.

L | D Finds : Illoom Balloon

Illoom Balloons are not just your average balloon. With built-in LED lights, lit before inflating, they are awesome. No, they are trè cool! Talk about creatingf the perfect party atmosphere and dazzling guests. Here are some details...child-safe - yes. Come in a variety of designs and colors - yes. Available in the USA - not yet :-( Cost - about £3.50 or a pack of five, or about $5.50.

I can't wait to get my hands on these balloons. Seriously, how amazing are they!

Florida Beach Wedding : 101 : The Wind

Home base for Lauren Daversa Events is the beautiful beach town of Jupiter, Florida and it is truly is gorgeous here. How gorgeous? Well, enough to make a die hard New Yorker decide to call somewhere else home! How did I make the switch? Well, Jupiter is just a fabulous location. But besides being picturesque, I am a hop skip and a jump away from the beach, just a few miles north of historic Palm Beach, about an hour north of Miami and a two hour flight from my hometown - and site of our new sister office, New York City! See, Jupiter is the perfect location, and not only for family and business but also for a beach wedding!!!

Lauren Daversa Events gets all sorts of interesting inquiries from around the United States from brides looking for help to organize their dream beach-side nuptials. I have to be honest, a lot of these brides have quite a few misconceptions about the logistics involved in a south Florida beach wedding. So many in fact, I am going to share them with you in hopes of debunking these myths / fantasies / delusions.

For the most part, the confusion comes from this idea that a beach wedding is somehow easier to plan and a less inexpensive route to take versus a resort, hotel, or private estate. And I guess in the most basic way sure, it can be. If you have a very small group (I mean ten, maybe twenty, definitely pushing it with thirty). But when I get calls from brides who have $5K dollars for their budget and are trying to plan a "simple" beach wedding for 150 people, I am grinning on the other end of the phone like the Cheshire Cat.

Soooooooo, where to start with beach weddings? For now, in the middle with something out of all of our control: The Wind. Yes, as a planner I can plan for everything except what Mother Nature is going to do. And when she unleashes her gusty winds, well she goes and changes your serene beach wedding to a carnival of swirly-whirly.

East coast beaches are not shielded from the wind, and wind generally means cold. Now with Florida being the Sunshine State and all, no, it does not get super cold here. But don't let that mislead you. Sitting by the beach when it's windy, is cold enough. Add gusty wind and that equals cold guests, cold wedding party, and most importantly, a cold bride! This can be fixed by tying pashminas around the back of the ceremony or reception chairs - have them do double duty as ceremony decor, and then wrapping the bridal party up in coordinating throws. Easy fix ;-)

But gusty winds also means that the beautiful programs you stayed up for three days to hand make and place on the seats, will probably blow straight into the Atlantic. Easy fix - you can just incorporate starfish as a paper weight to keep the programs on each seat! Let's kick it up a notch - yay Emeril.

Gusty wind means the flowers, chuppah, draping, dangling crystals, candles, rose petals, aisle runner, your hair, your veil and a whole list of other things will be blowing around every which way. See where this is going. Okay, not on board yet? How about this, sound. Yup, I typed sound. And sound is an issue at any event - inside or outside - but sound is a big issue when you're by the ocean. You see the beautiful, crashing waves and wide, open space will literally soak up the melodies that beautiful quartet you hired are playing. Or, they will soak up the romantic sounds from the Spanish guitar player who is passionately strumming as your walk down the aisle. Yeah, no one can hear the quartet, or the guitar player, or the officiant, or you and your fiancé for that matter while you are exchanging vows. Ahhh, you're getting it!

Now, I am not saying it is impossible to plan a beach wedding - not at all. I happen to think oceanside weddings are absolutely romantic and I love to plan them. What I want you take from this is that it is never as simple as it seems. There is a lot of preparation that goes into orchestrating any wedding; when you take it outside, you need to be even more prepared. In order to be properly prepared, it takes knowledge and experience.

What I've touched upon above are like four what if scenarios. Literally, it is simply what came off the top of my head. But they are four of many, many, many reasons why you need to hire a professional -ehem, Lauren Daversa Events- to bring your fantasy oceanside wedding to reality. If you can't enlist the help of a professional and you are planning a beach wedding, know this:
  • Be prepared. Be overly prepared.
  • There is absolutely no way of knowing twelve or fourteen months out what the weather will be like on your wedding day. Truth be told, the weather can change by the hour, which is why you need to be overly prepared!
  • Always, always, always have a back up location, preferably indoors. If your budget permits, and you are allowed, get a tent. Seriously, go for it!

Top photo courtesy of Luca Trovato
Bottom photo courtesy of to55er

Dolly Couture

Dolly Couture specializes in short cocktail-length bridal gowns for the bride who wants to be unique, dance the night away and still feel she is wearing the most special dress of her life. They are the designers of The Beverly Hills dress pictures above, which I am completely obsessing over. It is so Betty Draper! Sadly, the dress cannot be a member of the Wedding Gowns Under $250 club as it is priced at $895. But come on, that is a fantastic price for such a fabulous dress. Entirely covered with hundreds and hundreds of finely crafted organza rosettes, this A-line gown is figure flattering and (I'm going to say it again) FABULOUS!

Dolly Couture is dedicated to making brides happy and can create any vision the bride may have for her big day! If short and sweet is your thing, definitely check 'em out.

For The Menu : Cucumber Sake Shot

Step up to the plate, add some style to your next dinner party and save the planet all in one with DIY cucumber shots. These little guys are EASY to make, very versatile and produce no trash! Enjoy...

Melon Baller
Alcohol (Vodka, Sake, something from the Signature Drink Club or soup or sorbet or juice. How refreshing! Then you just eat the "cup." No waste, no clean-up.

Cut the cucumber into 3 inch slices
Scoop out the core of each slice with the melon baller, while maintaining the structure of the cucumber's wall.

Photo courtesy of Sandra Lee. Lllllllllllove her.

TOTW : The First Kiss

Did you know that the reason why the bride kisses the groom at the altar is not just for a photo opp for a master photographer like New York's Brian Dorsey to capture! That's right. There happens to be a cornucopia overflowing with wedding traditions from the world's history's past. These traditions have trickled their way down through time into today's weddings, and the first kiss is one of them. In Roman times, a kiss was seen as a legal bond that sealed a contract! Sealed with a kiss starts to make sense now, doesn't it!

While 'the first kiss' is not required, I find it to be a beautiful symbol of the precise moment in time when the bride and groom have forever bound their souls together as one. Romance at its finest!

Hello New Yorkers, looking for the best of the best to capture your moments? Get in touch with Brian Dorsey!

Color Coordinated Fourth of July Cocktails

Happy Fourth of July!!! To celebrate, check out these red, white and blue cocktails to add the holiday jazz to your weekend celebrations...

BLUE: Fourth of July Cocktail - very creative title - courtesy of Guy Fieri from the Food Network

Have a safe and happy holiday!!!

Event Inspiration : Ruffles

As long as your eyes are open, you have probably noticed the influx of ruffles on the wedding circuit. Let me point out, I am not a ruffle girl. I didn't play with dolls growing up, or have dreams of a Victorian existence in our modern world. Not that there is anything wrong with either of those childhood scenarios, I'm simply offering you a glimpse, a tiny Malkovich-style portal into who I am and who I am most certainly not.

Tying in this Starbucks-induced rant: ruffles. They are popping up all over the place beyond wedding dresses and shoes and you know what, this non doll playing / anti-Victorian lover likes it! Yeah, I like it a lot. My three favorite places to see ruffles: table linen, chair linen and cakes.

Scarlett Lillian, a phenomenal photographer based out of Jacksonville who is of course available for travel worldwide, recently shot a wedding at the to-die-for gorgeous Vizcaya Museum in Miami where she showcased some fabulous ruffled table linens courtesy of Wild Flower Linens.

If you can stand it, I am also crushing on Chameleon Chair. Though all of their products are great, I am loving the ruffle collection. Hello! Seriously, hell-o!!!

In the end, the ultimate professional accomplishment is being able to take this amazing trend and let your clients eat it. Now who better to show you how it's done than my woman, Martha.

Okay, before you run out and buy a ruffled wedding gown, and ruffled shoes, a ruffle flower to place in your ruffled hair, while you carry the ruffled bouquet your florist designed, STOP. Don't go ruffle crazy, really don't go overboard with any idea, color, scent, concept... Like anything in life, moderation is key. If you don't know how to walk the fine line between sophisticated and kitschy contact a professional. Hmmmm, I have on the tip of my tongue, oh yeah - Lauren Daversa Events because perfect events don't just happen...they are planned.