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New Inspiration

April 15, 2010

Here are a couple of Inspiration Boards I recently created for this fall’s clients.  You can see how each bride has such a unique style – I love when I get to show some diversity as well!

This bride has a very contemporary style.  She likes clean, modern lines.  Her look is simple, elegant and classy with just a touch of glamor.  I can’t wait for this September outdoor wedding!

Romantic and glowing, this bride told me she just wanted the wedding to be beautiful – and beautiful it will be.  With full, lush flowers and deep rich colors, her October wedding will leave everyone glowing!


Fall Wedding Color Inspiration

October 10, 2009

Hi everyone,

I’ve been away for awhile with the busy fall wedding season – but I did want to share some of my fall inspiration with you.  Some of these have been done for clients, and others just for fun!

Fall 1

This plays on some of the traditional fall colors, with some non-traditional colors.  The muted oranges and purples with the bolder reds has become one of my favorite fall looks.  What I really like about this inspiration board is the romantic feel created by the mix of the grand and the rustic.

Fall 2

Playing the purples and orangers a little stronger and a lot brighter in this one, it takes the hominess of a fall wedding and livens it up with bold tropical colors.

Fall 3

While we traditionally think of fall as a time of striking bold color, what about playing to the neutrals.  Black and white have been so popular this year, so take a fall spin on the classic neutrals with brown and ivory.

Fall 4

Who says pink is only for the spring?  This fall, pink and brown have been everywhere!  I especially like the idea of using softer pastel pinks for the ceremony and bolder, brighter pinks as evening goes on.  Use a lot of texture and rich woods to create a more fall- less spring feel at your pink and brown wedding.

Fall 5

A lot of fall brides struggle to find decor that doesn’t scream Halloween and Thanksgiving when going for the traditional fall orange and brown.  Look for modern designs and creative uses of the natural textures to avoid an overly holiday look.  For example, I love the use of bark with the candle, it’s unique, natural, but doesn’t say “Thanksgiving.”

Glorious Fall

This was an inspiration board that I put together for my friends Haley and Seth, who had a lovely backyard wedding on October 3rd.  It uses some of the color inspiration of some of my earlier boards, but I really loved the purple bridesmaid dresses.  Congrats Haley and Seth!

By Heather Brandon of Agape Weddings in Bakersfield, CA

From the Forums: Bridal Showers and Bachelorettes

September 4, 2009

One thing I see brides confused about on the forums is who is responsible for the bridal shower and the bachelorette party and how can they give their input without coming across as being pushy or demanding.  So here’s the run down girls!


Bridal Showers

Traditionally, this is a party thrown by the bridesmaids to “shower” the bride with gifts for her new home.  However, any female relative may decide to throw a bridal shower, and it is not uncommon for a bride to have more than one bridal shower if she has people that are in distinct areas of her life (ie family, friends from work and other friends).  It is typically held one to one and a half  months before the wedding.  Most women know about bridal showers and that if they are in a bridal party or a close family member is getting married to expect to be part of the planning process.  Sometimes, however, if a bride is particularly young or has particularly young bridal party members, it may not be as obvious to the bridesmaids.

If you are getting married in the next few months and no one has approached you about a bridal shower, it would be ok to mention it to your sister or best friend.  However, do it delicately.  Never go around complaining that no one cares about your wedding, no one is even throwing you a party, poor me, poor me.  And don’t talk to everyone about it.  If you just start talking about it all the time, it comes off as needy and demanding.

Bachelorette Parties

This is a party just for the friends of the bride held in the last month before the wedding.  Usually, this party is organized by the maid of honor or a sister of the bride.  It should be a fun night out with the girls and should match the personality of the bride.  Because bachelorette’s are a newer tradition, there are not as many set rules.

However, what is important is that everyone involved is comfortable with the activities.  If the bride is not into Chippendale type shows, please don’t force it upon her!  And really, that is true for her friends as well.  Trust me, it won’t be “all in good fun” if you have people there that are not having a good time.  Rent a limo and do a pub crawl or wine tastings, have a girl’s night in and watch girly movies, hit the clubs or make it a weekend at the beach.  The point is to have a good time and celebrate friendship.

Gifts are not required at a bachelorette, but if you do decide to do gifts, it might be fun to do a lingerie party or something along those lines.  Finally, this is NOT a party to invite mom to.  However close the bride is to her mom or however laid back the mom is, bachelorette parties should really just be for girls in the bride’s own age group.

For more information on bachelorette parties, read my tips in this article.

The engagement period should be a very special time for the bride.  The showers and parties are a wonderful way to take away the stress of planning a wedding and celebrate the love and friendships that have surrounded her.  Enjoy!

By Heather Brandon of Agape Weddings in Bakersfield, CA

Brides Say No to DIY Invitations

August 29, 2009

For today, I would like to have the bride’s speak for themselves.  These are comments from real brides either given to me or taken from online forums.  I didn’t make this up – DIY invites are much more difficult to deal with and expensive than they look!  To order invitations from Agape Weddings visit our invitations site and receive 10% off!

“So I printed my DIY invites and inserts, and unfortunately I messed the inserts up…I did not leave enough space in between them for them to be cut properly and somehow the size that I had them set to print at was incorrect. I was quite sure that I had everything right cuz when I printed out test sheet it was OK, but I guess you its trial & error so now I have to return to to reorder some card stock, but this time I think that I am going to just order the pre-cut inserts to be on the safe side. Good things i that I dot have to do the invites over they turned out fine and were able to be cut correctly.”

“My mother decided we were going to “print” the invites for my wedding ourselves… she got an AMAZING deal on ebay and bought them so I jumped on her wagon and went along with it. Since then when she bought them in January “we” have not done anything it has more been ME and it has been the BIGGEST pain in my rear end… First her computer and printer wouldn’t work (3 times), then we had no ink for another printer I was going to use… then we couldn’t figure out how to get the mail merge to work (we never did, I ended up importing over 120 SEPARATE names and addresses individually)… then the envelopes would get jammed… then the response cards wouldn’t print and I had to try a completely different computer… WHAT a hassle.
Needless to say… today every single one of the invites have been put in the mail!!! They are not fancy or done up but they get the point across and THEY ARE DONE!!!
Just wanted to share!!!”

“I have to say I share the pain, frustration and excitement at the same time right along with you. We also started in Jan, we looked and looked at brochures, and we wouldn’t find anything we wanted nor loved. Until I saw exactly what I wanted and called one of the companies up to only find out they wanted to charge me a little bit over $500 I told them your nuts… mind you there were only 70 invitations being mailed out. So I did them myself… got an awesome deal on all the materials that I needed. Told my Fiance we are doing these, she said oh yes no prob i’ll help you… that’s what she said LOL… and of course the pain started, the printer jammed on me, then the ink finished, then the pc wanted to act up … until 3 months later all the invitations were finally complete. All invitations went out mid April. (and she only helped to put them in there envelopes and put stamps on them LOL… “

“I don’t think I’d recommend invitations that you print yourself to my worst enemy! The problem with them is that all the computer companies that make the printers must think it’s just so darn funny when we actually try to USE any paper size besides 8.5 x 11! For my ‘photo’ printer, I’ve read the manual, as has my finace and my computer guru cousin. No dice; there’s always a paper size ‘bink’ noise, or it comes out crooked. Our parents tried printing them. Several guests have as well. This has become a NIGHTMARE! I’ve got all these pretty blank invites…what am I to do, hand-write every bloody one of them???  My dad was finally able to get his printer to obey, so they’re printed. Then came stuffing the envelopes. I discovered that the paper used to make the envelopes is so thin that you can read the invitation right through it! And the day after stuffing the envelopes, it was discovered that the glue on them is so poor of quality that only bits stuck, so the flaps are HIDEOUSLY wrinkeld.  DON’T buy invites from Gartner Studios!”

“My sister DIY’d and it was a time consuming nightmare.  She did it because she wanted soy based ink and recycled paper or some hippie thing like that, but it took three people all weekend to get them together.  And it’s not like anyone noticed.  If you’re doing it for cost reasons and you’re prepared for the work, that’s awesome.  If not, forget it!  I really don’t think people remember much about invites anyway.”

“I got a pretty great deal on my invitations. The cost, time, and effort that would have gone into making them just wouldn’t have been worth it. It also depends on how many invitations you need and how many people you have to help you get it done. Most times, if you are ordering 150 invitations, it only costs a little more than ordering only 50. So, when ordering more, each one costs less. However, if you make your own, most likely, each one will cost the same and it will take a long time. When planning your wedding, you have to pick and choose what is important to you. Keep in mind, invitations eventually end up in the trash. Some things aren’t worth the time and effort. A wedding can very quickly and easily become a huge source of stress, but it shouldn’t be.”

“My printer will not print on the card stock for my DIY invitation, my printer will feed the card halfway thru, and then the card gets stuck, and I get an error message. I have tried to change the paper type, but nothing seems to be working.”

“Yes, I didn’t realize how expensive DIYing our invites would end up costing us. In the end we could have spent almost the same amount and gone with the ones I originally wanted, but thought were too expensive and probably been much happier. Ours turned out alright I guess, but certainly nothing impressive and they didn’t exactly fit with our color scheme either. Oh well, at least I can say they were totally unique and most people probably just threw them out anyway. *sigh*”

“Ouch! I messed up on my invites a bunch. I printed out about 5 or so and then I realized that I forgot to include the year of the date, printed out a few more after that without specifying AM or PM for the reception time, printed out some with “We you invite you” instead of just “We invite you”, and then printed out a couple without giving out the venue information. After about 15 or so, I finally started getting the hang of it.”

“I thought it would be all easy but then I had to print them out and one computer worked for set up but the printer wouldnt at all, so I e-mailed the file. Bad idea. The file wouldnt convert correctly. Finally got that to work and found out I couldnt get the RSVP cards to print because the paper was too small, so I go to yet another computer, that computer doesnt have the same fonts so I have to get as close as I can and WA-LA, RSVP cards done, but wait a tic. That printer doesnt like the invite paper, Soooooooo. Back to computer number 2 to print the invites. After printing all 90 invites and RSVP cards ONE BY ONE, Im done. Took what felt like forever and trying not to curse in front of my mother was most likely the hardest part. LOL”

So, maybe printing your own invites is not the time and money saving option you thought it was!

By Heather Brandon of Agape Weddings in Bakersfield, CA

Wedding Planning Site of the Week: Ebay

August 27, 2009

Alright, I know it’s not a wedding planning site, but I end up spending so much time there looking for great deals for my brides!  I’m all about supporting local businesses, but if there is a specific item that I am going to purchase online, I check out the prices on Ebay first.  I know this might sound obvious, but make sure you check the price with shipping.  I was looking for something the other day and found it for $4.99 – by far the best price for that item – but the shipping would have been $30!  What???  Needless to say I didn’t buy that item.  I found it from another seller for $13 with $5 shipping.

I also use ebay to get ideas.  Sometimes I just search weddings and see what comes up.  I look through and think about how I would use those items in a design or how it could add something special to a wedding.

In any case, Ebay is a great resource for brides and planners alike.  You can find almost any item under the sun for a great price, and you can often buy in bulk.   Happy Planning!

By Heather Brandon of Agape Weddings in Bakersfield, CA

Wedding Colors and the Season

August 23, 2009

Do you have to match your wedding colors to the season?  With the current re-writing of wedding traditions, is there any reason not to have a pastel garden party at Christmas or use gold and purple in the spring?  Like most things in life, the answer is yes and no.

Recently, I saw an episode of Whose Wedding Is It Anyway in which the planner was dumbfounded by a bride who insisted on a yellow wedding in December without using the traditional red accent color that would have made it more “Christmas-y”.  We are so used to some colors going with certain seasons that it begins to feel strange when we break out of that mold.  If you don’t believe me, google “fall wedding” and see what pictures come up.  You guessed it, page after page of orange, brown and gold.  But what’s wrong with wanting a blue wedding in the fall?  Nothing – if you take a couple things into consideration.

1.) Trying to mesh a theme and a season that don’t usually go together may make it difficult to find the items you are looking for, but you can always shop a season ahead.

2.) It’s a little bit jarring to see pastels in autumn, and a little uncomfortable.  If you must choose a non-traditional color and season, play with the accent colors or shades of your color that will make everything harmonize a little more.

3.) We draw our inspiration from nature and nature is full of contrasting neutrals.  Brown undertones instantly turn that pastel pink into a fall theme, white makes that rich red scream summer and black and white together make yellow appropriate for any season.

4.) Flowers make the season.  Use in season flowers to turn those non-traditional colors into the new in season color!

Here are some examples of traditional and non-traditional color schemes to get you thinking in the right direction.

**Note: When I label something “traditional” here, I only mean in color scheme.  Most of these designs are still fresh and trendy.

Traditional Christmas Wedding


New Christmas Wedding

11-3 - Christmas Wedding copy

Traditional Winter Wedding


New Winter Wedding


Traditional Spring Wedding


New Spring Wedding


Traditional Summer Wedding


New Summer Wedding


Traditional Fall Wedding


New Fall Wedding


Design is always about trying new things and daring to be different.  The classics are always tried and true, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put a modern spin on them!

All photographs are property of the photographers.  Agape Weddings did not design these events.

By Heather Brandon of Agape Weddings in Bakersfield, CA

Great Wedding Themes

August 15, 2009

When I was getting married, which wasn’t all that long ago, theme weddings were something that crazy people had.  Well, maybe crazy is a strong word, but you know what I mean.  People that were really really into Star Wars or Renaissance Faires had theme weddings, average brides, not so much.  Now, it seems like everyone has a theme.  It makes sense because it is something that makes everything else make sense,  it brings together in harmony.  So here are some popular themes and ideas for carrying them out.

1. Vintage.  Ok, this is a broad theme and I tend to laugh inside when brides tell me they want a vintage wedding.  There is a huge difference between a 1920’s vintage and a 1950’s vintage.  Are you looking for the old hollywood romance of the 1940’s, the classic americana fun of the 1950’s or the sexy excess of the 1920’s?  If you are considering a vintage theme, decide what atmosphere you are trying to create.  Are you wanting an event that is exactly like a wedding from that era, or a modern wedding inspired by the style of that time?  Bring the vintage into every aspect of your wedding – clothing, decor, food, flowers and even entertainment.  Vintage themed weddings remain popular because  it is a theme that everyone can participate in freely.  Who wouldn’t love to go to a 1950’s themed wedding with a checkerboard dance floor, burgers and shakes for dinner and car hop waiters on roller skates!  Name your tables after icons of the time or create your own drive-in movie feel

2. Wine.  OK, I’ve already professed my love for wine themed weddings on another post, so I’ll avoid repeating myself and put out some ideas for carrying it out.  First of all, the colors of wine are inspiring in themselves.  You could go with the deep purples and greens of the vineyard or the burgandy and golds of the wine itself.  Decorate with wine barrels, grapes and wine corks.  Name your tables after wines or vineyards or both!  And of course, don’t forget to serve some amazing wines at the cocktail and reception.  A really special touch would be to bring in a sommalier to do a tasting with your guests during cocktails.

3. Fairy Tale.  The trick of the fairy tale wedding is giving it that fantasy feel in a sophisticated way that does not feel like a 6 year old’s birthday party.  The idea is to recreate Cinderella’s experience, not create an homage to Cinderella.  Look at it this way, instead of using a Disney cartoon as inspiration, use the Palace of Versailles.  It creates an old world, European feel that a real princess might have experienced.  See if your area has a Cinderella carriage to make your grand entrance and for some amazing pictures.

4. Beach. There are so many fabulous ways to go about this!  You can go with everything very fresh and light in varying shades of blu – or be inspired by the sunset in beautiful purples and oranges.  You can bring in sand and shells or water features to give that ocean feel.  If you want, you can even include fish in your centerpieces – just make sure there is somewhere for them to go after the event!  The important thing to distinguish your wedding from every other beach wedding.  Think about the feeling you get from the beach and try to recreate that.

A theme doesn’t have to be cheesy.  Take something that you love, that speaks to you as a couple and weave that idea throughout the wedding.  Do you love books, have a cake that’s a stack of books, or bring in a library.  Do you love music, work it into your centerpieces and decor.  The key to any theme at a wedding is to work it in consistantly and subtley.  You want it to be the unifying factor without hitting your guests over the head with it.    Happy planning!

By Heather Brandon of Agape Weddings in Bakersfield, CA