Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from MasterPiece Weddings!

At our office we always have a blast with Halloween! Check out Gainesville's Best Wedding Planners have some fun with todays holiday!

Let me introduce you to Intern Melissa as Michael Jackson, Me as Beauty Queen - Miss Conception, and our own personal Wild Things Erinn as A Wild Thing, and Amanda as King Max.

Thank you Powers Photography for taking the time to have some fun with us and take our pictures, I know we are dorks -- and you are so patient and wonderful! We love you!

And of course our signature jumping photo!

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Twilight Wedding

In honor of Halloween tomorrow, we decided to make an inspiration for one of the most talked about weddings in vampire cinema history. Bella and Edward, here is your Twilight inspiration...

{sparkler exit}{cake}{bouquet}{venue}{candles}{luminaries}{roses}{Bella & Edward}

What do you think?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Planning Ahead

So there are so many things to consider when picking a wedding date. Sure, you may have a perfect date in your head but you must realistically consider other events hapenning besides your wedding... For instance, a beautiful Fall wedding sounds great in theory, but what happens if it falls on the biggest local college football game? Would you really want to be stuck in traffic with angry fans trying to get to a tailgate on your wedding day? You don't want your guests showing up hours late to your ceremony or reception.

Traffic isn't the only thing that worries us. Big weekend events call for higher hotel prices, higher rental rates, as well as increased package prices for some vendors.

Every season has it's downfalls. Winter brings in corporate holiday parties and increase chance of snow storms up north. Springs and Summers brings local community events like art festivals, local shows, and not to mention hot, rainy seasons.

So when picking a date, plan ahead! Consider all of your options including community events to ensure that the day runs smoothly!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Boutonniere Alternatives

A fun way to spice up your groom and his groomsmen's suits is by adding a fun boutonniere! There are plenty of ways to accessorize the guys without flowers while still keeping with the color palette. Check out some of these trendy new boutonniere ideas using some other ingredients besides just a flower. We especially like the ones that add a personal touch to your guy. Be creative! After all, it's his wedding too!
DIY Flower Alternatives:




A Personal Touch:


Crystal and Beaded: {picture1}{picture2}{picture3}

What are some fun ways you dressed up your groom's boutonniere?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Winter Inspiration

How lovely is this warm winter inspiration? Our intern Melissa made it and we can't get over how intimate and romantic the details are...


What do you think?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bridal Party Gifts

As a tradition, brides typically purchase a little something for their bridesmaids as a token of thanks and gratitude. There are so many fun ideas out there that would be perfect for your bridal party...
What about a spa day?
Spend a day at a spa getting facials, manicures, pedicures, a deep massage and hair treatments. Girls love to be pampered and love it even more they are with their best friends. Add a bottle of champagne and you have yourself the perfect girls day out and bridal party gift!
Or how about an adorable clutch to use on the wedding day? It is definitely something they can use again in the future. Try looking on Etsy or picking out fabrics and bringing them to a seamstress to create something perfect and personal.

{Julia Sherry Designs}

What about a personalized hankerchief the girls will keep forever? Let them use it to dry their tears for not just your wedding but their own as well.


And lastly, what about dressing your ladies in something cute and similar on the wedding day?



Whatever you give your bridesmaids, make sure it is personal and genuine. Your girls will love you no matter what so have fun with it and get creative!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall and Winter Flowers

We can't help ourselves, we love the flowers that are in season right now and thought we should give some tips to you brides. It doesn't matter how much you love a certain flower, you need to make sure it is in season by asking your florist. If your particular flower isn't in season, you may have to pay extra to have it shipped from somewhere across the world or you will just have to change your date...please, don't do that!
Here are some beautiful Fall flowers that come in so many colors and just look beautiful in a bouquet:


Peony {source}
And don't forget about the lovely winter flowers...
Gentian Rose


So Fall and Winter brides, don't freak out if your flower is out of season or too expensive to order! There are tons of beautiful flowers that are in season now, just ask your florist!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Take a Seat

We are just loving the creative ways brides and grooms telling their guests which table to sit at. Sure, a framed chart can be beautiful, but we are challenging you to get your creative juices flowing and make it a DIY Project!



So tell us, how did you make a statement with your seating chart?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jenna & Zach's Inspiration Board

Our new clients are planning this beautiful winter wedding for January 2011. Melissa the Intern did an amazing job putting together an inspiration board for them. It's so dramatic and the purple is so pretty. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wrap it Up

With winter weather quickly approaching, we're encouraging brides to wrap it up and stay warm! Covering your shoulders can be a fabulous detail and another reason for more cute accessories! Not to mention, that look absolutely charming in pictures...
So we're calling all Winter Brides, what are you wearing to stay warm?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day Of Planner vs Full Service

I think there is a misconception as to what a Day Of Coordinator (or Month of...or whatever your planner calls it) and what a Full Service Wedding Planner can do to help you.

There are similarities and differences.

Both services will be there on your wedding day or organize and orchestrate your wedding day. And you get to work with a planner, but the similaries sort of end there.

If you have a Full Service Coordinator they will do the following, plus a TON more:

• Help with budget
• Review contracts and negotiate your contracts, make sure nothing is missing or duplicated
• Offer Vendor Recommendations
• Attend your meetings with your vendors (offer our opinions)
• Assist with décor
• Help with Set up and possibly breakdown
• Be “In-the-know” with every aspect of your wedding
• Create and extensive timeline for each vendor involved in your wedding
• Organize and Orchestrate your Rehearsal and Wedding Day
• More extensive time on the day of the wedding
• And Much, much more!

What can a Day Of Coordinator do for you:

• Be there on the day of your wedding and your rehearsal to organize and orchestrate your day
• Meet with you 1 or 2 times prior to your wedding
• Be there for a limited amount of time on your wedding day
• Create a timeline
• Coordinate your Ceremony

It really depends on what you need. How much you’ve planned.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Open Letter to Brides

Dear Brides,

First let me congratulate you on your-up-and-coming wedding! I know you've been dreaming about this day for a long time and you want it all to be perfect! Trust me, we of all people know that. And maybe some of you haven't been dreaming about this day forever, and now are just realizing that you need to plan this shin-dig!

A lot of you want to plan every detail of your wedding, you are probably an A-Type personality just like me and want to be involved in every detail of your wedding. I get that. We get that.Wedding Planners are here to make sure that happens. Trust me, you are going to be busy on your wedding day, your mom and fiance are going to be busy too.

Who is going to be there to execute those details so you don't have to worry about them getting done and your vision happens how you've dreamed it would be. It's our job, that's what we do.

I know you hired the best photographer, and the best caterer and the best videographer! And I am thrilled that you've placed your trust in those vendors to make your wedding dreams come true! And they are fantastic at what they do!

But please, let them do their jobs - they work better when they are allowed to take pictures and give you amazing food and amazing products. Allow yourself to trust us to do ours and make your dreams come true.

Hiring someone to help you is not giving in, it's not giving up, it's allowing yourself to relax and enjoy your wedding!

I want you to enjoy your wedding!

With Tons of Love,

Melissa DiStefano
Owner and Lead Planner
MasterPiece Weddings
Wedding Planner, Gainesville, Florida

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thank Goodness!

{Photo's By: Photography by Rebeca}
One of the sweetest testimonials from one of our all time favorite brides, if you are wondering IF you should hire a wedding planner... or what we as wedding planners do, please read on....

Wait, read on anyway!

One of my dreams finally came true. I'm going to marry my prince. I've waited all this time and wanted this crazy, big, fairy tale, wedding. I've been a bridesmaid 12 times and I know how weddings could be to family and friends. I wanted a wedding weekend without all the stress of making sure everything was done. A friend suggested that I hire a "wedding planner". Being an OCD, control freak, I didn't know how this will work for my personality.

I went to a wedding show in Gainesville and spoke with multiple planners. They all seemed nice but I still had misgivings. I heard about MasterPiece Weddings from various wedding vendors in Gainesville. I looked up MasterPiece Weddings website and was immediately interested in speaking with them in depth.

From the beginning, Melissa and I clicked. She personalized a package to suit me and my personality. She was a blessing and heaven sent. I could tell this was going to be one great relationship. She allowed me to be myself but was also able to reel me in, when it became too much. In her quiet, calm, confident and kind way, she was my calm within the storm.

I thought that I couldn't afford a planner, however knowing what I know now, I couldn't afford not to. I'm sure there were MANY behind the scenes scenarios that Melissa and her gang quietly handled, so that I can have the wedding of my dreams.

Although hiring a planner is an expense that most brides would rather put in their budget as an option (or in my dreams option) , I realized that it should be a must. I actually saved on many expenses because of her advice. I can go on and on about ALL the things MasterPiece Weddings has done for me, my husband and family.

I cannot thank them enough. I am proud and confident to endorse MasterPiece Weddings to MY family and friends. Thank you Melissa for everything and especially the friendship...PRICELESS.

Eiryn (1-24-2009)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Regret It!

I can't work with every bride, everywhere. I know that. But there are some weddings that you think after they leave your office that you just need to work with that couple! And I mean NEED! You totally fall head over heals in love with them.

And that is how it was with Erika and Jeff, I just knew it was destiny. Well, a series of events occured and we couldn't work together. After the wedding, I got word that one of her biggest regrets was that she didn't hire us. That made me sad.

We are friends on Facebook and talk all of the time... and frankly I still love her!

Here's Erika's Story. (In her own words)

We got engaged in June of 2006 & set a date for May 5th 2007. We thought that would be ample time to plan, schedule, re-think, re-plan, & re-schedule, at least a couple of times. The first priority, besides the cake, was the photographer. We were incredibly lucky to get the photographer that I dearly wanted. She immediately recommended that we speak to Melissa {MasterPiece Weddings} for our planning needs, so we made an appointment.

After sitting down with Melissa, it became clear to us that there were a number of things that we need to account for, but at the same time, estimates were starting to come for the catering, the cake, we already had a photography contract to sign, the venue, the church, the dress, the tuxes, shoes, honeymoon, etc. Trust me, it adds up IN A HURRY! We had a limited budget & my husband, who has some OCD tendancies & works with chaos every day as an auditor, assured me that he would be able to coordinate, plan & schedule this gala event without any problems at all. "I've got it under control", he said. So, in the sole interest of saving money, we decided to not hire Melissa.....not our smartest decision.

In the months that followed, chaos turned into outright anarchy. There was the small issue of moving the wedding from Gainesville to St. Augustine for starters. Flowers, DJ's, and bridesmaids, Oh my....

Whenever we thought we had a handle on something, Murphy's law was there to slap us on the backside. We had wine labels done, but they were delivered to us & not the winery, so my husband had to drive to Howey in the Hills. It had never occurred to us that we were going to need chairs for the outdoor ceremony.....don't think Melissa would have missed that. We had to get the flowers and the cake to St. Augustine, along with all the dresses and tuxedo's......did I mention that at this point, we were really wishing we had hired Melissa? Then came the big day...

If, for one instant, you think that on the day of your wedding, you will have the time or inclination (there are mimosa's to drink) to meet with all the vendors as they arrive or that they will telepathically know where you want everything set up, you are kidding yourself, trust me, I learned the hard way. We were very fortunate to have am incredible photographer and florist that stepped up to the plate and took control, right when we about to lose it! There is no amount of self planning that can take the place of a talented, experienced, & caring wedding planner like Melissa. When we renew our vows at our 50th, there is no question that Melissa will be running the show.....put it in your blackberry right now Melissa, May 5,'s the easiest and sanest decision you'll make leading up to your big day.

Need I say more?

{Got it!! You are in the Blackberry}

Photo's By: Caroline Johnson

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day Of Coordinator

There is a lot of controversy going around as to hire or not to hire someone to help you on your wedding day… and I wonder why.

Let me clarify, we are a wedding planning company in Gainesville, Florida. That is what we do…that’s all we do. Full Planning. Day Of. We’ll plan anything, anywhere. Anything on the Planet we can Plan It! But I digress.

Why do you need a Day of Coordinator, Month of Coordinator- whatever you call it… someone to help you on the day of or month of your wedding. You have your wedding planned, your contracted with all of your wedding vendors. Now what? You don't want your mom or Bestie to be running around making sure your details are handled....

• Who is going to organize your wedding day, create your schedule for the day of your wedding, go over your contracts, make sure you and your fiancé – your mom can be guests at your party!

• Who is going to open the door for you right before you walk down the aisle… hint – NOT your mom, she’s already seated.

• Who is going to take care of THAT drunk guest at your wedding, that just so happens to be a prominent judge and is making a fool of himself and pulling down his pants on the dance floor – hint, NOT your mom!

• Who is going to inform your caterer that they didn’t include the green beans on the buffet, or make sure your 2 Vegan guests can't be served a vegetarian meal… hint- NOT your mom!

I know you said that your fiancé can be the “point” man for your wedding day, but really, when it comes time to cut the cake, and you want 20 more minutes to mingle with your friends before, is he going to stop mingling to inform the caterer, the photographer, the videographer, the DJ or Band that you need more time, because by the time he does that, you’ll need another 40 minutes. Because he just wasted 20 informing everyone.

That’s our job, we do all of that and SO MUCH more, really… it’s worth the money…. I promise!

Does that make more sense as to what a wedding planner will be doing on the day of your wedding?

Monday, October 12, 2009

What is a Wedding Planner?

We are going to call this week, Wedding Planner Week! Soooo, without further ado, welcome to Wedding Planner Week! We are going to dedicate this whole week to all questions, myths and regrets about Wedding Planners! Brides are going to be weighing-in quite honestly about why they did or didn't hire a wedding planner, and how they feel about it now. But let's start with what exactly a wedding planner does, and why it could or should be helpful to hire one. A wedding planner should be there as much or as little as you need help with. If you are struggling with your caterer and need help getting your contract straight, it is our job to step in and help YOU! That is the bottom line, we are there to help you! We are also there on the day of your wedding to make sure you don't have to worry if your flowers are the wrong shade of pink or the wrong color all together. And at your reception you don't have your caterer, DJ, photographer, videographer and who ever else asking you as the bride, the same questions, we play interference! You wont' have worry about a thing! So, welcome to Wedding Planning Week, I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dear Parents of the Bride

Dear Parents of the Bride (and/or Groom),

I am so excited your daughter (or son) is getting married! This is just such a fantastic time in your family's lives! Along with this joy comes the over-whelming feeling of -ACK! We have to plan a wedding! And those things are expensive. I know that weddings seem like an astronomical expense and it’s hard to fathom spending that kind of money on a party. But let’s talk about where that money typically goes so that you can get a good feel for how much things cost and why.

Because frankly, I don’t think that the bride wants the local grocery store to do her flowers, or Cousin Marvin with a really nice camera to take her pictures. I like to say that there are 5 F’s to a wedding: Food, Flowers, Foto’s, Fashion and Fun. Those are the biggies, and after that, everything else is cake. (Pun is intended).

Food: Food costs are typically 50% of your budget, that’s what you eat and where you are eating it. So if you your budget is $30,000, that’s $15,000 for food and venue.

Are you with me so far?

Flowers: This amount absolutely depends on both the total budget and what the bride wants. Some brides want a TON of flowers, others really don’t care for them, or their venue is a garden then you really don’t need them. But typically the flowers are about 10% to 15% of the total budget. So going back to the $30,000, that’s between $3,000 and $4500. Keeping in mind that this accounts for all the bouquets, corsages, and centerpieces.

Still with me?

Foto’s: I know its spelled wrong, but it goes with the 5 F’s, so deal with it. This is a hard area to comprehend. Good photography is expensive. Professional Photography is not expensive it’s priceless! I personally didn’t have a professional photographer and look what I ended up with. But anyway, back to what I was saying. You can hire a photographer for $1500, but what you may end up getting, grainy images, out of focus, no album (and really, why would you want one with a bunch of crappy pictures of their wedding) and I am not saying that all $1500 photographers are bad, but buyer beware.

Photography, good, Professional Photography should start about $3000-$3500 (and could go up to more than $5500). And you will have amazing images. Depending on your area of the country photography could start higher or lower. Photography should be 15%-20% of your budget.

Fashion: This is for the dress, what the bride wears, since typically the grooms tux is complimentary from your Tuxedo Boutique. The Brides dress is usually 5%-10% of the budget.

Are you still there?

Fun: This would be the entertainment, and this would also typically take 2-5% of the budget. The band or DJ would come out of this percentage. Depending on your area, a DJ on average is about $100+ per hour per person attending the job, so if you have 2 DJ’s then the price would typically be $175-$200 per hour.

And really, the rest is cake, and some miscellaneous items, invitations, a wedding planner…really an extra 20%-25% of miscellaneous stuff.

Okay, so that’s more than 100% but you get the point. I hope this makes more sense to you, I know that planning a party for 200 of your closest friends and family is not something you do every day.

Trust me, I know that. And if you need help planning, a professional wedding planner is a good idea. We can at least get you started on the hard stuff, go over contracts, make sure you aren’t making any decisions you’d regret.

Let us help you. Really it’s okay.

With love! And Happy Planning!

Professional Wedding Planning Guru
Owner | Lead Planner MasterPiece Weddings

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Birthday Party

How fun would this board be for a little kid birthday party? We went with primary colors, lots of candy, and super fun games and decorations.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Same Wedding, Different Boards

Our intern Erinn is currently planning her own wedding. Last summer, we had an intern create an inspiration board for her that she absolutely loved before she really got started with the details...

Now that she is in the middle of all the planning, she created an updated board for herself:

Which one is your favorite?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Preserve Your Dress!!

We always want to help brides and the more ways we can help the merrier! Right?

So, we are teaming up with a Wedding Gown Preservation Expert to help brides in Gainesville get their Wedding Gowns Preserved!

Did you do this in your dress?

But you want to keep your dress and preserve it forever and ever and ever... all you have to do is, drop your dress off at our office and in just a few short weeks, have it back in preserved in a box, air tight, in acid free paper - it's cleaned and preserved and ready to go! Guaranteed for 50 years!

So, Gainesville Wedding Dress Preservation is open for business! Drop your dress off at our office, and you are good to go!

Call us for more information:: 352.317.3222

Cost for Preservation: $150

See you soon!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Vegan Cake Search...

So I'm Erinn, and I'm the MasterPiece Weddings Intern. I'm currently in the process of planning my own wedding for next December and have found myself in a cake rut. You see, I have a ton of allergies and my fiance has none. I'm not going to force all of my guests to eat a cake that tastes like cardboard just because I can't eat some of the ingredients. So what to do, what to do? Many people don't understand the world of vegan wedding cakes. Some people may hear the word dairy free and cake in the same sentence and try to run. What you don't know, is how beautiful a vegan cake or dessert display can turn out to be:
So here is my problem. I don't want to have to get two cakes considering most wedding guests nibble at a cake and never eat the whole piece. Is it worth it to find a beautiful vegan cake and have my guests just deal with the taste difference? Or settle for buying two smaller cakes with one being vegan and the other yummy, creamy, and dairy delicious?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Crane Making Fun

A few weeks ago Dan from Unforgettable Events came in and we had a paper crane making party! Dan was using the paper cranes for his bridal show display so we gladly offered to help out with our super paper animal making skills! Check out Intern Melissa and how much really goes in to these little birds!
Ta Da! The finished product!
Check out how beautiful all the different colors look together!
We always love trying new crafts in the office and we had so much fun making them! They turned out great on Dan's display at the Bridal Show!
Blogging tips