Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Interns Chosen .... but it's still a secret!

Just an FYI that we've chosen two applicants to intern with us for the coming Spring Wedding Season!

However, as we promised on the blog, they won't be announced until TOMORROW, January 1st, 2009.

Stay tuned for the special announcement of the winners, coming very soon!

Monday, December 29, 2008

New for 2009!

We have a couple of "firsts" coming up for 2009 that I'm going to keep under wraps for now, but I did want to go ahead an announce our first big change:

Flaire Weddings and Events can now accept credit cards! It's a move we've been wanting to make for a while now, but only recently did we find the right fit for our processing needs.

So, clients, if you'd like to pay by credit card instead of personal check, just let me know and I'll get you set up.

Hope everyone had a fabulous holiday! (I did! Skiing in Boone, NC was part of the fun! Hopefully I'll post pics soon.) =)

Friday, December 19, 2008

My first photo shoot -- with my new camera!

I mentioned a few posts ago that I bought a DSLR camera so I could take my own table top/design shots at weddings for this blog. My of my photographers gladly supply me with images, but sometimes I want to post right away after a wedding, and I get a bit impatient waiting around for image files!

So I decided a decent-quality digital camera would be a worthy investment.

I'm definitely still in the learning stages, but I had a friend who volunteered to model for me as I experimented with settings, focusing, and lighting. She wanted to have some new pictures of herself anyway, so it worked out for us both!

Here are a few of my favorite shots, which were taken around downtown Jax.


I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. Thanks Angela for being such a good sport. =)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Real Wedding: Allison and Matthew

Allison and Matthew came to St. Augustine, all the way from Colorado for their beach wedding!

Allison wanted a very simple but elegant beach wedding, so our all-inclusive beach wedding ceremony packages were perfect for her!

The weekend they chose in November ended up being one of our coldest on record, but that didn't dampen the spirit of the day.

Thanks so much to Katie of Katie Photography for capturing these lovely images!
Congratulations Allison and Matthew! May you have a wonderful marriage!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Huge Designer Bridal Gown Liquidation

Attention Brides!

A major bridal boutique in Jacksonville, Riverside Gown Shop, closed its doors last year and still has about 75-100 gowns remaining.

These gowns are being liquidated at well below resale value! Several of the gowns are worth thousands of dollars. They are in very good shape for the most part, and if you are a recessionista, this would be an excellent way to stretch that budget a bit!

If you are interested in contacting the firm in charge of the liquidation, please leave me a comment or an email and I'll get you the contact's direct information.

Thanks so much and let us know if you're interested in seeing the gowns!


Thursday, December 4, 2008

How to Spot a Bad Apple

My last post inspired me to think about the issue of the thirty-plus wedding planners here in Jacksonville. With all that competition, what's a bride to do? Who's trustworthy and who's not?

With that in mind, we came up with our top five tips for How to Spot a Bad Apple -- that is, who's running a legitimate business and who might not be?

Tip # 1: The planner has no website. In today's technological world, not having a website is like broadcasting "I'm stuck in the eighties!" It could also mean the planner is brand new and has not invested the appropriate funds to begin running a legitimate business. (This goes for other vendors, too -- I rarely even consider a caterer, photographer, etc. for my brides that does not have a website.)

Tip # 2: The planner's "portfolio" showcases "borrowed" or stock images. This one can be trickier to spot. Being familiar with your favorite designer's "looks" can help you spot when other planners have "borrowed" their images, marketing those images as their own. If you'd like to verify that a planner's images are from her own events, ask her questions about the images (albeit in non-threatening manner.) Ask questions like, "What venue was this wedding held in?" "Who was the florist for this wedding?" While they're not going to want to give away their entire vendor list, a legitimate business will be using photos of their own events and will be able to speak knowledgeably about those events.

Tip # 3: There's no specific "about us" info on their website. While this initially may not seem like a big deal, it begs the question -- why isn't this information there? No one wants to talk to a faceless company. We want to know that there is a living, breathing person running this company, we want to know their name, and we want to feel comfortable with that person. A photo is a plus.

Tip # 4: The planner is not a member of any professional organizations. While obviously not a requirement, by joining a professional organization, the planner is showing that they are committed to excellence and high standards. The Association of Bridal Consultants is an excellent place to start.

Tip # 5: A search through city records turns up zero mention of the company. Anyone running a business in Jacksonville (or anywhere for that matter) is required to go through the necessary steps to be considered a legal business entity. If you'd like to check through a list of Jacksonville businesses, there is a search engine here. Just type in the business's name, and the website will show you any records of that company.

Of course it goes without saying that no "research" beats an in-person consultation, in which you can form your own opinions about the person or company and your comfort level with them and their services. But if you're trying to avoid having 30 sit-down consultations, weeding out the "bad apples" using some of these methods is a good place to start!

Planners in other areas -- is your area full of bad apples? How do you deal with this?

Brides -- other ways you searched for reputable vendors? Let us know!!

Vent: Copy-Cat "Wedding Planners"

Ok -- so I hope in advance the tone of this post does not come across too harshly. But I need to take a moment to vent.

The Wedding Planning industry is a very transient one. There are SO many companies that begin this way: a girl plans her own wedding, LOVED it, and sets-up shop as a wedding planner because it just sounds SO fun and she's SO good at it. (Or maybe she just rented Jennifer Lopez's The Wedding Planner and thinks this career would be perfect for her!)

Great! Fabulous! Good luck, and we hope it works out for ya. A year later, an internet search of her company turns up nothing. Nada. Zilch. She's worked with a few brides, and discovered that it's actually TONS of work, and makes you very little profit, if any, for the first several years of business.

So, I take it all in stride when the lastest listings on or or some other wedding directory turn up 10 new weddings planners in the Jacksonville area. Some I'm sure will blossom into awesome companies, others will fade away as quickly as they started. It's just the nature of the beast.

But imagine my irritation, when looking over the website of one of these newcomers, I find the product/service descriptions to be almost word-for-word matches of my own service descriptions on my website. Oh, a few words have been changed here and there, but in a direct, side-by-side comparison of the two sites, the copycat is pretty obvious.

On the one hand, I guess I should be pretty flattered that my company is seen as one of the standard-setters here in Jacksonville. On the other hand, it's irritating. Extremely.

I understand that everyone has to start somewhere. Because I, too, was a newcomer, three and a half years ago. But I didn't copy other planners' styles. I created my own look, my own package offerings, my own pricing. And, I joined a professional association, ABC, to hone my craft. I've attended workshops, seminars, and conferences to better myself and my business. And I'm continuing to strive for new heights with my business. I'm constantly evaluating, reworking, and updating to be sure that my service offerings are innovative and relevant. So it's frustrating when other planners aren't putting in their own effort, but are trying to latch on to someone else's bootstraps. (Don't know if that's a saying or not, but it made sense to me!!)

On the brighter side, if you are considering a career in wedding planning, a great way to "test-drive" that desire is through an internship!

Flaire Weddings and Events is currently open for applications to our Spring Intership Program. We will be accepting applications until December 15th, so if you're interested, you still have two weeks to get that application in!
See the details here.

Good luck -- we'd still love to hear from several more applicants!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Blogger Brides... Winner!

A few weeks ago we introducted our Blogger Brides contest. To enter, all you had to do was be a blogging bride, post our introductory post on your blog, and leave a comment! We used to generate a number randomly, and comment number 1 was selected! So the winner is... Devon! Devon, please email us at with the subject "blog contest" to claim your prize: a $10 Target Gift Card!

You can follow along with all the blogging brides on their blogs!

Devon, with "Wait...15k is How Far?"
Sonja, with "The Mrs."
Ali, with "The Innerworkings of a Fish Girl."
and Rai, with "A Semi-Charmed Kind of Life" (Rai actually didn't comment on this post, but with a little blog-stalking of Sonja's blog we found her post so we're including it here too!)

Thanks again to all the blogger brides who participated in our intro post-- stay tuned for a new blogger bride post coming soon, and if you're a blogger bride out there, it's not too late to join the fun!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Surprise Birthday Party

Back in October we threw my mom a surprise birthday party when she turned 50!

Here are just a few of the decor pics I wanted to share. (Note: these pictures have led me to see the value in getting my own digital SLR camera! More on that to come. I'm not trying to become a photographer or anything, but it would be nice to take semi-professional looking shots of my event design/decor work for the blog and website!)

We had several of these highboys scattered throughout my parent's house and patio. Photobucket

Two smaller tables were out on the porch.

Here is the delicious cake from Sheila's!

The fabulous food was catered by The Perfect Pear and it was wonderful!
Flowers by Shirley provided all the floral arrangements.
My mom was completely surprised and everyone was so impressed by the decor. Too bad she'll only turn 50 once!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

5 Steps to a “Magazine-Worthy” Wedding

I would venture to say most women planning their wedding have flipped through at least one bridal magazine.

Buying that first bridal magazine as you proudly sport your new ring is almost like a rite of passage. You smile happily as the cashier knowingly looks at your hand.

You page through the magazine and see stunning pictures.

You think, “I hope my wedding is this beautiful!”

It can be. The real weddings that make it into the magazines have five things in common.
Here are our top five tips to ensuring that your nuptials are worthy of your favorite wedding mag!

1. Hire an outstanding photographer.
You never see mediocre pictures in the magazines. A good photographer doesn’t have to cost a fortune though. There are many fabulous artists just starting out who can give you a good price. If funds are available, however, by all means, splurge on the best photographer you can afford.
2. Don’t neglect the details.
Some of the simplest details have the biggest impact. Can you make a cute “Wedding This Way” sign? Can you label the action stations at your reception? Go through the things you have to have in your wedding anyway and personalize them. Some places to start: place cards/ escort cards, table chart, table numbers, menu cards, station labels, favor stickers, etc. Also, make sure your photographer gets creative shots of these details, because that’s what the magazines want.
3. Create “pops” of color.
Color stands out in magazines, and in photos. Even if your main colors are pale, find places to accent with color “pops.” Think table fabrics, bridesmaid gowns, flowers.
4. Coordinate your paper goods.
Have a coordinating motif, monogram, pattern, font, logo, etc. on all your printed details. From your invites to your programs to your menu cards and table numbers, there should be continuity. A coordinated suite, especially one custom-designed is wonderful.
5. Focus on one or two “wow” factor items.
Most of us can’t afford to have every fabulous idea out there. There’s also the risk of going overboard, which you want to avoid. But focus on one or two really show-stopping design elements to give your wedding that special flaire. Think about an over-the-top escort card display. A fabulously set candy buffet, completely color coordinated, using specialty containers. A ceiling treatment or an out-of-this-world cake table.

By following these simple steps, your wedding will be worthy of any bridal magazine! Try submitting your wedding photos and detail shots to various blogs, magazines, and websites. You’re bound to be featured on at least one!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Blogger Brides' Roll Call

Calling all Blogging Brides!

We’d love to get you all connected, and hear about your fabulous upcoming weddings!

To participate, here’s what you need to do.

1. Repost the following Blogging Brides questions on your blog, with your responses.
2. Comment on this post, letting us know you’re participating in the roll call. In a week, we’ll post a list of all the blogging brides that responded with links, so you can meet each other in the virtual world and find out all about each other’s ideas!
3. We’ll randomly choose one bride who comments to win a special give-away!
4. All brides are welcome to participate (even newly-weds).
5. Feel free to spread the word about the roll call on your own blog!

Blogging Brides Introductory Post:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself, your fiancé, and the proposal.
2. When is (was) your big day? Describe the theme, or overall look of your event. Tell us the venue if you’ve already chosen it.
3. Are you using (did you use) a wedding planner? If so, who? If not, why not?
4. Who is your photographer? Tell us why you chose that photographer.
5. What is one detail about your wedding that has you really excited?

Stay tuned to the blog in the months to come for more “Blogger Bride” posts! We look forward to hearing from you all!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Announcing: Spring/Summer Internship Program

Flaire Weddings and Events Internship Program

Flaire Weddings and Events is seeking a few good women who are interested in interning with a successful event planning firm! We are currently seeking 3-4 interns for our upcoming Spring/Summer Wedding Season. All applicants are welcome! Past event experience is preferred but not required.

Interns will have a variety of duties, including:

Office time – contacting vendors, responding to bridal inquiries, returning calls, etc.
Blogging and Research– We love creativity and want to see what you’d show the bridal world in a blog post, and what wedding trends you’ve scouted.
Rehearsal assistance – organizing and assisting the lead event planner with wedding rehearsals.
Wedding Day assistance – Your chance to assist one of our fabulous bridal couples with the wedding off their dreams! Wedding Day Duties will include set-up of décor items, placement of menu cards and place cards, assisting with the venue set-up, assisting with the wedding ceremony, and being on-hand to help throughout the reception!

Upon successful completion of your internship, you could become a candidate for employment with Flaire Weddings and Events as an event assistant, and maybe even start down the path to becoming a lead event planner for the team!

Interested applicants are asked to submit the following materials by December 15th, 2008 to

Recent Headshot or Photo
Current Resume
List of three non-relative references
Personal statement (up to one page) on the topic: Why would you make a good wedding planner?

Once you submit your internship application, selected applicants will be sent some additional materials to complete before our final selection is made.

Interns will be announced via the blog on January 1st, 2009!

Thanks so much to all who are interested, and we wish all the applicants the best of luck!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

I trashed my dress!!

I had an awesome time last night with Corinna Hoffman and her hubby Bobby trashing my dress at the FAIR!

I had been intrigued with the idea of doing a session at the fair since last fall when I suggested it as a spot for engagement pics for one of my couples. (They ended up chickening out of that plan, but I still thought it would've been so cool!)

Fastforward to this fall. I had asked Corinna about trashing my dress back in the spring after I met her at a wedding, but never really acted on it. Then, she emailed me a month or so ago with the idea of doing the shoot at the Fair, and I have been so excited ever since!

Here is one of the sneak-peek pics she posted.. more to come when I have them!! You can see Corinna's sneak peek posting here:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Guest Blogger -- Flaire Weddings and Events on "Just Dandy!"

Danielle is one of my fun and fabulous Spring '09 Brides, so of course I was thrilled when she asked me to do a guest post on her blog!

In her wedding planning, right now we're focusing on designing a custom lounge area for her guests to enjoy during the reception.

My post features my Top Five Tips for designing your own lounge space.

Go check it out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Trashing it with Corinna!

I can't give any details yet -- (don't want to spoil any surprises) but this week I'm going to be trashing the dress with Corinna Hoffman! I am so excited -- my husband just laughs because he says I am addicted to weddings -- of course I am! Look a what I do for a living! =)

More details and hopefully images to come after Wednesday......

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wedding Decor: Kristy and Dan

Last weekend, we were busy working on Kristy and Dan's wedding at DeerCreek Country Club.

I don't have any professional pictures from this one yet, but here are some decor shots I grabbed with my point-and-shoot camera. Hopefully they will give you a preview of their look! I know the pro pics will be great, so here's what I have to whet your appetite...

Here is a shot of their sweetheart table.

Lighting was such a key element in this wedding and I think it made a huge impact!

More shots of the room.

LOVED this cake by Sheila's!

Stay tuned. More to come from this wedding!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Busy Weekend for Flaire Weddings!

This weekend, we actually had TWO weddings! Needless to say, it was very busy. Here's a quick recap of both -- pictures to come soon!

Wedding # 1 -- Kristy and Dan

DeerCreek Country Club -- This wedding had amazing decor!

Linens by Connie Duglin,
Florals by Blossoms and Accents
Lighting by Jax Stage Lighting

Chocolate pintuck linens, gold chargers, and a rose at every place setting! Can't wait for pics from this one!

Wedding # 2 -- Brittany and Mike

The Club Continental

This bride had my favorite color scheme, Hot Pink and Black!

Linens by Connie Duglin
Florals by David Snyder of Curly Willow

Can't wait to see pics from this one too!

Stay posted! =)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Brides Beware: False Vendor Reviews

OK, so I hate that I even have to post this. But a girl's gotta have some place to defend herself, right?

Backstory first: Many of you may be familiar with the oh-so-hot wedding website "The Knot." I love The Knot. They have fabulous inspiration photo galleries, and I know their resources are helpful to many brides.

However, they also have their infamous "message boards." Now don't get me wrong, my company has gotten a lot of positive press on these message boards. I've got some fabulous brides who are knotties, and I can tell everytime they post something positive because my email inbox gets flooded with inquiries. (That was actually how I discovered these posts, I began to wonder one day after getting so many inquiries all at once, and after a quick internet search, I found an awesome testimonial about my services on the board!)

However, because it is a faceless environment, some brides have also taken to writing false reviews. Why you ask? I don't quite know the answer.

So imagine my surprise when after doing another search of my company, I found this comment posted this morning by a bride:

"So because our wedding is in January, I've been trying to finalize all the vendors as soon as possible, per my persistent mother. We met with several this past weekend, and as promised, here are my findings:
WC: Cassandra w/ Flaire weddings was really nice and her experience speaks for itself, but then we went and met with J.Lee w/ A Perfect Pair and that meeting went just as well. So we thought about it and decided to use A Perfect Pair since they were $100 less and contracted to do just a little bit more than Flaire."

Now, this is all fine and good -- brides can totally choose whoever they want... but here's the kicker. I didn't meet with this bride this weekend. I have never met with this bride. I didn't have any consultations this weekend. I was working on my mother's suprise birthday party all Saturday (pics to come soon!) and Sunday was busy too. So, not only did I not meet with this bride, she's now claiming to have met me and comparing my services to another company. I would love the chance to sit down with this bride and actually discuss my services and pricing... but that hasn't happened.

Why would she claim to have met with me when she hasn't? I'm not sure.

Does she maybe work for this other company? Who knows?!

Is she secretly a demented old lady who has created alter-online-ego's for herself? Could be. (Okay, okay. Probably not, but you never know.)

She may not have met with the other company either. At this point, her whole post is suspect due to her false information and claims.

All this to say... brides, take reviews like this with a grain of salt.

The internet, while a hugely helpful resource, can also be fraught with falsehoods. Be sure to do your own due diligence. If you are interested in a company, meet with them for yourself. Call references, check with the Better Business Bureau. Once you've hired a coordinator you connected with, then he or she will be a fabulous resource for you as far as hiring your vendors go. Most coordinators only recommend trusted vendors that they've actually worked with, so you know you're getting their best referrals!

Brides: what are your thoughts? How much stock did you place in "reviews" when hiring your own vendors?

Planners: has anything like this ever happened to you?

Share your comments!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Real Wedding: Christienne and Justin

Christienne and Justin were such a pleasure to work with. They both live in Tallahassee, and needed some assistance with vendors and planning from afar.

From the beginning, Christienne had some amazing ideas, yet she was also really open to my suggestions and I think the final result turned out beautifully.

The wedding and reception were both held at the Club Continental in Orange Park. The flowers (which turned out AMAZING) were by David Snyder of Curly Willow. The absolutely phenomenal photographer was Agnes Lopez!

Thanks so much to Agnes for sharing these pictures with us!
These are just a few of the incredible details from this wedding.

I love it when brides get daring with their shoe choice!

This shot is definitely one of my favorites!

Isn't she stunning?

I absolutely LOVE this shot of the bridal party.

This image is so sweet, and I love how you can see Christienne's three bridesmaids enjoying the dance in the background!