Party Time at Fairchild

Our third client from the advertising agency Crispin, Porter, + Bogusky called us to plan her wedding. I think this makes us CPB Miami’s official wedding planner! Brenda and Chuka were sweet, funny, and fun from the start. I knew this wedding was going to be a blast. And then I found out that Brenda is a fellow Zeta from the University of Miami. Well this is just to good to be true!

Brenda and Chuka were very focused on throwing a fun party that their guests would be delighted to attend. But they were also very conscious about their budget. With a new baby, a new house, and their future on the horizon, these two savvy professionals knew where their priorities lied.

They chose Fairchild Gardens as their venue. Brenda’s father is a big fan of Fairchild. And by choosing a raw space, Brenda and Chuka were able to create the environment they wanted. We started with a clean, white space by draping the walls of the garden house.

Brenda wanted a black and white theme with a pop of color. The great thing about choosing a decor with high contrast is that a little goes a long way.

In homage to their college partying days, the tables were named after bars in which the couple has had good times with friends and family.

The escort card table also acted as the favor table. Mini bottles of champagne with tags directed guests to their tables. A sign with a familiar slogan set the mood for the night.
And then there was the cake… My team kept calling me from Fairchild concerned that the cake had not arrived. Well after finally getting through to the baker (the bride’s family’s friend), I found out that the mother of the bride had given her the wrong date! Oh Missy!! I told her to get to the venue ASAP and that we would help her put it together. Let’s just say my team got a crash course in wedding cake making. And the best part of having a wedding planner, no one was the wiser. Cake problem…what cake problem?

After an amazing meal, the couple and their guests danced the night away. It was a great party full of love and laughter.

And of course my favorite picture: A group of beautiful Zetas celebrating their sister together. ZLAM, Joan
Photos by Dolce Photography

The Most Important Paper at Your Wedding (after your marriage license)

Our last blog on Venue Coordinators vs. Wedding Planners has prompted us to write a short post on BEOs. I am a believer that if you are about to spend the most money you will ever spend on a one day party, you better be very informed about everything, and one thing that MANY brides and grooms overlook is the BEO at their reception venue. So here is a quick guide to what it is and what you should know.
A BEO is a paper that contains all the logistics for your reception including food and beverage (F&B), audio/visual, rentals, room setup, and staffing requirements. It also includes the date, times, and fees for the event. BEOs are usually drafted by the hotel event coordinator and given to the banquet manager. Now this banquet manager has probably never met you. His or her only guide while setting up on your event day is this piece of paper!
Now here comes wisdom from our experiences. At least once a month, we have arrived at a venue and have had to change what the banquet manager has setup because the BEO was wrong! Thankfully, we as planners are fully aware of what you want and are expecting, but clients without a planner might find that their tablecloth colors are wrong, the seating layout is wrong, or even the event times are wrong! Hopefully a venue coordinator will catch it. But, if they arrive after the initial setup, sacrifices will have to be made.
So our advice…ask your venue coordinator to show/email you the BEO one week prior to your event. Have him or her walk you through it (it’s usually filled with industry jargon you might not understand) and make sure that this “blueprint” to your reception matches what you have been planning.

Venue Coordinator vs. Wedding Planner

One of the top 5 questions we get on our “Ask Us” page is: “Do I really need a wedding planner since my venue already comes with services from a venue coordinator?” Well, the best way to answer this question is to explain the difference between the two and let you decide how much help you need.
A venue or hotel coordinator is there to aid you with everything that will happen within the venues walls. They can recommend vendors, help you with the layout and seating arrangements, and set up a food tasting. One of the venue coordinators biggest responsibilities is to create a banquet event order (BEO) that is passed on to the banquet manager that will be setting up the event on the day of. Now, take note of that last statement. A banquet manager (which you have probably never met), not the venue coordinator, will be in charge of setting up, running, and breaking down your event. The venue coordinators do show up on that day, most of the time. The good coordinators come for a couple hours to make sure that the banquet manager is understanding the BEO correctly and everything is getting set up just like you want. But be ready to have your phone in hand for all questions, concerns, and problems from the coordinator, your vendors, and your bridal party and guests.
In contrast, A wedding planner is an expert at you. We are in charge of helping you plan your wedding and overseeing every element of it whether it be at the venue or anywhere else. We oversee all vendors, including the venue. On the day of, we are there from set-up to breakdown, making sure everything is being done exactly as you wish (and we would know since we have been meeting with you various times at key points of the planning process). If a vendor is late or doesn’t show up, we have all the information and will call. If your bridesmaid left her shoe at home, we drive over to get it. If the venue coordinator, vendor, or guest has a question or problem , he/she calls us, not you, so that you can enjoy your day.
See the difference?
The coordinator works for the venue. The planner works for you. Now, I absolutely love working with venue/hotel coordinators. They know the staff, the rules, the capabilities of the space, and the problem areas and how to work around them. They truly are a wealth of information about venue and we as planners rely on their experience to produce a smooth running event. But as a client, you need to be aware of what they will not be doing so that you can make sure either you or your team (groom, mom, maid of honor) will be there to do it.
Now for my disclaimer, like everything else in life, nothing is black or white, as a very famous author has now reminded us there are many Shades of Grey. There are some venues that will offer a full wedding planner as part of their rental package. These planners will do all the responsibilities of an off-site planner. If you do run into this situation, I would go over the checklist below and make sure they are willing to do everything on the list. I would also ask how many other events they are planning for your wedding weekend.

Venue/Hotel Coordinator Responsibilities

    Wedding Planner Responsibilities (or your responsibilities if no planner)

      Hope this helps!

      Olympic Fever

      It is only a few days away! It’s the opening ceremonies for the XXII Olympics! It’s the biggest event in the world and we always love to see what new and exciting things they come out with. It definitely is a huge source of inspiration for us. And as such huge Olympic fans, imagine our excitement when we were hired to produce Olympic speed skater, KC Boutiette’s wedding! His sweetheart of a fiancée, Kristi came to us requesting a special, family oriented wedding that was representative of their personalities and their love for each other

      Kristi is a very successful advertising rep. She came with very clear ideas and inspiration for her big day. We just helped her combine all her ideas in a way that would flow and look spectacular in person. We had enough time to really focus on the details of each moment. Custom monograms were created for the menus. We brought in firepots for the pool area to add warmth to the cocktail area. We even created a cool photo walkway at the entrance of the house with great pictures of the couple.



      Blue and lime green where the colors of the day. We love to add a little print to our events. We chose this grassy, zebra-ish one and combined it with some oriental blue and white print in the form of porcelain vases and balls. Like we always say, it doesn’t have to match perfectly, it just has to make sense with the overall scheme.

      blue-green-wedding-program    Wedding-Monogram-Green

      The bride and groom love to have fun together. They wanted to have lots of things for their guests to do at their wedding. We had the much-anticipated FSU vs. UM game playing in the theater room. We had a fun photo booth full of costumes to play with, and we had a great dance floor complete with disco ball to dance the night away. And to make sure guests could find their way, we created a wooden sign to direct them to all the fun areas.


      miami-wedding-photobook     Wedding-photobooth-props
      Finally, what is an Olympian’s wedding without some Olympic rings? Kristi wanted to design a special surprise groom’s cake for KC. We took the picture of KC to Elegant Temptations, where they created an amazing cake set on top of an acrylic box full of brussel sprouts to represent the wreath they placed on KC during the medal ceremony in Brussels. In order to properly display this masterpiece, we created a candy and dessert favor table at the entrance of the house. The guests were wowed to see five sections of sweets in the 5 colors of the Olympic rings. It was a showstopper.

      olympic-groom's-cake         olympic-candy-bar
      From the ceremony, to the photowalk, to the favor table, to the grand tent, every moment in KC and Kristi’s wedding was designed to tell their guests the story of their love. And a great story it is.

      Photography by Magda Hernandez

      A Destination to Bliss

      If I was having a destination wedding I would have two big concerns. The first one would be that my planner had great style!!! I would hate to arrive at my destination three days before my wedding and see that things are just not my style. My second concern would be finding someone that truly knows the city I am planning to wed in. What are the good spots? Where are the cheesy wedding factories to stay away from? What hotels would my crowd love? etc…
      It is imperative that your aesthetic and your planners aesthetic are similar. Even though you can see pictures and video of the venue, samples of the florals, and renderings of the decor, there are always last minute decisions that will be made by your planner. One of our greatest assets at Joan Love Events is the experience we have in fashion. After years of working in the fashion industry in cities like NYC, Milan, LA, Paris, and Miami, we still follow the latest runway trends and incorporate them into our events. So for you die-hard fashionistas, this is definitely the planning company for you!
      Also, our team has more than 20 years of combined experience in the Miami hospitality and events industry. Every new hotel, bar, or lounge has been scoped out by our planning team. We know where to go and more importantly, where not to go. We also know all the hidden gems that tourists don’t know about, but us locals live at. We can make sure your guests have a great time during your wedding weekend, while staying away from the tourist traps. Unless you actually want your guests riding around on an amphibious vehicle with a duck-beak checking out the celebrity homes on Star Island, we can make that happen too:)

      The United Nation of Weddings

      What do you do when an Italian bride finds her Peruvian prince charming?…plan a Moroccan wedding on Cinco de Mayo of course! Enter Sonia, a firecracker of a woman and our hands down favorite bride of 2011! Sonia and Alfredo met while sunbathing on South beach and fell in love. So on her 50th birthday, Sonia planned to marry Alfredo in front of 200+ of their friends and family from around the word.
      For the ceremony, the couple wanted to get married in the exact location where they met. We had the towel attendants that introduced Sonia and Alfredo to drive the bride in to the ceremony on their golf cart. We built a canopy on the sand in the bride’s favorite colors, hot pink and orange. A rose petal aisle and colorful dresses added color to the ocean background.

      Sonia’s best friend Chaya could not be excluded from the festivities. She served as the ring bearer for the day.

      We turned Sonia’s godmother’s mansion on Pine tree drive into a Moroccan paradise. The tennis court was covered in maroon astroturf and then covered in a gorgeous tent by Prestige Tents. Each table was accented with a beautiful moroccan lantern surrounded by roses, orchids, and the bride’s favorite, peonies.

      This couple was very insistent about one thing, their guests needed to have fun! After traveling as far as India for this wedding, they wanted to make sure this wedding felt like a great party. We started by turning the backyard into a cool lounge. The furniture was covered in custom fabric prints and colors. We strategically placed the groupings so that the guests could enjoy the waterfront view. Add to that an amazing DJ, lights, and karaoke, and we had everyone dancing all night.

      To ensure the guests continued dancing until the wee hours of the morning, we had Footzy Rolls as favors for the ladies. These great ballet flats come rolled in a small pouch that fits snuggly in a clutch. Custom gold ones made all the ladies feel like moroccan princesses.

      In order to represent both the bride and groom, we had two types of favors. We had “confetti” or Italian sugar covered almonds shipped in from Italy. We also had Peruvian huayruro necklaces that symbolize good luck.

      It was an amazing party for an amazing couple. Our team misses Sonia, Alfredo, and their amazing family very much. You are so very blessed to have eachother. We wish you many years of happiness!!
      Thank you to Loly and Chris Acuña from Lolypix and Chris Acuña Photography for the great photos. They really portray how beautiful and colorful the day was!

      Traditional meets Modern

      For many years I have had brides come to me debating whether they want a traditional or modern wedding. They love the idea of a fairy tale princess ballgown, the castle, and the many attendants, but they also like the sleek white lounges, the cool lighting, and the lucite furniture. Well my bride Melissa wanted it all, so of course, we gave it to her!!

      We started with a ceremony at the famed Spanish Monastery. Their prayer well is a very popular place for ceremonies which books up months to years in advance. One of the challenges of this venue is that, chances are, your guests have been to another ceremony at this same spot, so you want to make sure you do something different enough to wow them. Another challenge is that….it’s old! Uneven and cracked floors do not a good stage make, but with a little creativity and lots of candles, we turned this old courtyard into the most romantic garden you have ever seen.

      Candles, candles, candles! We filled the floors and the trees with candles. There was so much sparkling candlelight that it looked like the entire area was swarmed by beautiful fireflies. We also added a heavy wreath of hydrangeas to the well so that it looked like a blooming garden.


      After Melissa entered the gardens in her beautiful ballgown and had her traditional ceremony, she got back into her Rolls Royce and headed for her modern reception. She chose STK, the newest, and hottest restaurant on South Beach. We closed the entire second floor and transformed it into the perfect reception for Melissa’s family and friends. Because we didn’t want a disconnect from the ceremony, we softened STK’s modern lines with some feminine touches.

      For the tables we used the same white hydrangeas as in the ceremony and we added some white roses and mini callas. We used mirrors on the table as the runner to complement the mirrored walls. We also added floral candleholders, which we painted aqua, to add a punch of color to the tables.


      My favorite detail were the butterfly place cards. Each one was perfectly perched atop the guest’s champagne flute.

      And finally the cake! The bride wanted it to be whimsical yet elegant. She opted for a gorgeous creation by Elegant Temptations that combined a topsy turvy cake, cupcakes, and a beautiful acrylic box full of hydrangeas. We framed the cake table with a custom mirror decal of the bride and groom’s initials. It was the perfect combination of traditional and modern for the perfect combination of Melissa and Nicolas!

      Thanks to Winston Delawar photography for the great pictures. You rock Amanda!

      Never skip the liquor!

      Cocktail party = a party with cocktails. With so many cut backs due to the down economy, we are seeing more and more events with very tight budgets. However, there are certain things that should not be skimped on. Take for example our recent annual event for Grupo Diarios de America.
      Every year GDA brings together all the major editors for the most important newspapers in South America. Our welcome cocktail party is the highlight of these editors’ week. So imagine if after a twelve hour flight they arrive to find that there is a limited bar, or even worse, no cocktails!!!
      With the down economy, many of our corporate clients are challenging us to coordinate their annual events with a smaller budget. And of course they expect the event to be as good if not better than the previous year’s. GDA came to us with that exact challenge. Their event needed to be worthy of very important attendees. So our first step was finding a venue that was budget friendly yet still classy. Add to that a good DJ, well placed lighting, some great hors d’oeuvres, and a very well stocked bar , and the result was a group of very happy editors.




      A LOVEly Affair

      Finally, it was my turn!!!! After years of planning events and weddings for other people, it was time to turn the attention on me. But, because this is what I do for a living, I decided I wanted a small, no fuss wedding that was more about family and fun. But, it had to be pretty, of course. Our first big problem was that my fiancee wanted a huge bash and I wanted a small wedding. Now I call my fiancee “The mayor of South Beach” because he has been in the industry for so long that he knows everybody! And I did not want a 500 person wedding. So I came up with this great concept that I now suggest to my brides with the same dilemma. Have a small ceremony and dinner for your family, followed by a big party for everyone. It was a little tough working out the logistics at first, but it turned out to be a huge success!
      Choosing my colors was easy. My favorite color is blue, and I think hot pink looks best for small weddings, so I combined the two and voila. I chose lamps as centerpieces because I like the height that they give the space and I knew my guests hadn’t seen anything like it. I also found these great LOVE signs. I painted them silver and had them placed on the table next to many sizes of vases with floating candles. To finish things of, my favorite florist
      Pistils and Petals, used blue sea glass and pink orchids to fill up the table. There is nothing I dislike more than an empty table.



      For the ceremony I knew the one thing I had to have was an interesting aisle runner. I love the idea of using a fabric with a fun print on it instead of the boring white runner. This instantly gives the space a focal point and looks so pretty in pictures. I think it looks way better than the outdated vases, flowers, or tulle that are used to mark the aisle.


      I love Martha Stewart weddings. I get so many ideas from there which I then put my own twist on. I like the idea of using a box filled with candy and toys as the place card for kids. It looks very cute on the table and it keeps the child entertained during the dinner.


      For the place cards, I used grosgrain ribbon in pink, blue, and silver. Each color represented a different meal choice. That way the servers were able to serve the correct meal to each guest.


      I have three pets at home which I love very much. However, there was no way I was bringing them to my wedding. Even though we sometimes do this per our client’s request. I never recommend having a pet as part of the wedding party since they have a mind of their own and they never listen to the wedding planner! So, I came up with this idea. I took pictures of my dogs and my lovebird playing with, sitting on, eating, and tearing up the table numbers. I then placed the pictures on the tables. Everyone loved seeing their crazy personalities in the pictures!


      I love painted wedding cakes. It is a great way to give a modern twist to a classic wedding element without going over the top. I had my absolute favorite cake artist, Rosie from Elegant Temptations, paint some branches on a simple, white, three tiered cake. She also added strands of Swarovski crystals to the bottom edges. I love how she finished the strands with these little tassels. Such a cute detail. BTW, the cake was amazingly delicious. Red velvet marble and Godiva chocolate! Yum!




      And then it was time to party! We chose the beautiful rooftop lounge at the Gansevoort hotel. We personalized the cabanas with throw pillows that were personalized, “LOVE”. Vases were placed on the tables and bar that were then used to hold the bouquets. Finally, one of my favorite DJs on the beach, Aliyo, rocked it out as our friends arrived to dance and drink the night away with us. It was a great time for our guests and an unforgettable night for us.


      Thank You to
      Magda Hernandez for these fabulous photos!!

      Waste Not – Using Decor for both Your Wedding and New Home

      One of the biggest trends we are seeing in events right now is the use of elements you would find in a house.  Sofas, armchairs, side tables, and lamps add warmth to a sterile venue. Urns, lanterns, and even tiki torches turn a ceremony site into a lovely garden. This trend is not only beautiful, but very recession friendly. These decor elements can serve two functions, making your wedding gorgeous and then beginning to decorate your newlywed nest.

      Lamps make great centerpieces. They are tall, beautiful, and come in different styles. But best of all, they make a big statement with minimal to no help from flowers. And that is a big help to the budget. Also, after the wedding day is over, you can use them to decorate your new place. And if you have some extra ones, give them to the moms or other guests as thank yous.

      Source: The Knot

      Cushions are a great way to add color to the ceremony, the cocktail hour or the reception. You can also personalize them by adding a monogram or silhouettes. After, the event, pop them on your couch as a great memento.

      Source: Joan Love Event Firm

      Source: Frontgate

      Urns can also serve a dual purpose. At the Ceremony site, they can hold flowers or mark the way for your guests. They can then be put around your garden at home. Tip: use faux stone urns instead of real ones. They are much lighter so you don’t have to hire extra help to move them.
      Source: Fleurs de France

      Tiki torches and Lanterns help add light and sparkle to your event. At your new home, the tiki torches will come in handy again at your first barbecue as husband and wife. The lanterns can be placed indoors on a bookshelf, or outdoors hanging from your favorite tree. Tip: If your budget allows you to splurge a little, try using bright colored ceramic fire pots instead.
      Source: Home Infatuation

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