Tag Archive: "Featured Pro"

I’ve said it before (here!) and I’ll say it again now: lighting is key to transforming a venue.  Great lighting design can create any mood you desire.  But how do you install lighting sources in a beautiful way?  And how can you make audio equipment work with your design?  And what if you need to re-shape a space?  Well, Amber Lu has a company for all that and we were very excited to sit down and pick her brain.  She shared with us all about how she got started, what inspires her, and what she’s loving right now and we’re pretty sure you’ll find it as interesting as we did!

Amber, what sparked your interest in wedding and event design?

Being around corporate events, I wanted to involve myself in the softer side of event production where I could pair the technical with the aesthetics. It seemed that most people had the thought that lighting and audio/visual were very mechanical looking and a bit of an eye sore, so everyone tried to hide them, but that makes the equipment less functional. At the time most planners and designers did not realize that white lighting fixtures and white speakers existed and could make such a huge impact on the overall look. I thought I could help to not only present this idea, but to also blend the two together in order to show that lighting and audio can be visually pleasing and still remain functional in a space.

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How did you narrow down on such a specific area of design work?

My partner at the time was a DJ, and provided audio and lighting services for events. I was intrigued by the idea that you can do so much with lighting and audio/visual. After visiting him on job sites to see how both lighting and audio paired to become such an energetic force in the room, it made me want to create a similar atmosphere. I added draping services later, as I felt it was crucial to maintaining the aesthetics of an event.

What is the greatest challenge you’ve come up against in running your own business?

I would say the biggest challenge I have faced is managing a group of people with different personalities and keeping them in line with my own philosophies of doing things. In business, you start out as a one-man show and you learn to be a renaissance man, or woman in my case, then you grow and realize you need more people to help you with things. Managing people was definitely not easy in the beginning, but I have learned and evolved with my company to find what works for everyone, including me.

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What is the most important asset in this business? (And perhaps in life in general ;)

The Golden Rule or Law of Reciprocity: “Treat others as one would wish to be treated oneself.” We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with and it takes a village to make things happen. If you show respect and compassion to the people that surround you, they will also reciprocate. The event business is a hard business to be in due to the fluctuation of time and hours each week. Some people cannot endure the long hours or the constant “go”, so environments can be tense at times. When you stay positive and show kindness, it makes for a better working environment and life, in general.

 

What is the most helpful thing a client can keep in mind when meeting with you for the first time?

It’s helpful to bring in photos that you have selected that would best represent your lighting, audio/visual or draping needs. It gives us a better insight on your overall look and helps us predetermine the services you are looking for so that we can have a very efficient meeting.

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What trends are you loving these days in event design?

Lighting: Twinkle lights. While they were hot before, they are hotter than ever now. The use of twinkle lights has expanded from adding them to fabric to filling up an entire tent or ceiling (it is the ideal way of creating the illusion of stars and that perfect night sky) to incorporating them stylishly into floral treatments for that added sparkle. No matter what shape or form, the ubiquitous twinkle lights/fairy lights/Christmas lights are here to stay for some time.

Draping: Colored velvet draping. While the popular wine color has made a comeback in covering the walls of ballrooms, velvet draping of all colors is trending immensely. Colors, such as ivory, navy and light brown, have made their way to the forefront in uplifting a ballroom and making any event appear ultra lush and super swanky.

Audio: Bluetooth streaming audio. Wireless control via phone has been popular since apps were created. What’s trending now in audio is speakers with built-in Bluetooth capability so you no longer need a cable to connect your phone to a speaker to play music and you can play your favorite tune from anywhere in the room. These are great for conference rooms and cocktail reception areas.

Video: The biggest craze these days is video projection mapping. Whether it’s projection mapping on a building, blank wall, or cake, video projection mapping has become the IT thing in events. I recently projected fireworks and diamonds on a 7 tier cake for a wedding on the Fourth of July weekend and the reactions from both the couple and guests were priceless. Video has become a platform for many unimaginable things.

Amber Event Prodution

Are there any other thoughts or additional insights you’d like to share? We’d love to hear anything our questions may have brought up!

Many people place a lot of their attention on design elements for their wedding and displace lighting, audio/visual and draping services. While equally important, it is the overall presence of services and the way it plays on each other that makes for a good atmosphere or exceptional photo.

Learn more about Amber Event Production here!

 

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You might be able to guess that we love a trip to the linen showroom, as it’s basically a candy shop for the design-obsessed. Well, La Tavola is one of our favorite destinations and today we are excited to feature the lovely woman who is our guide through all of the fine linens there: Lindsay Newby-Snode.  We love working with Lindsay and jumped at the chance to pick her brain with the following interview – we hope you’ll enjoy her insights and stories as much as we did!

Lindsay Newby-Snode of La Tavola

Lindsay, what sparked your interest in wedding and event design and decor? And what keeps your interest sustained?

Weddings are so magical and it is such an important day. It is the one day that is totally about you and you get to live out your dream of your perfect party. The day will always be remembered by the couple, their family and guests.

What are the most important things clients should keep in mind when coming to the showroom for the first time?

Don’t get overwhelmed. It is supposed to be fun! We have so many linens to choose from but our staff is here to help and make everything simple and enjoyable!

La Tavola

What is the most helpful thing a client can bring to the table?

An idea of what they are looking for, yet be open to suggestions. They might love something that they thought they would hate. Ideally knowing your color palette and overall style is best so we can help to narrow down the choices to find the perfect linen.

What is the greatest challenge you’ve come across in your work?

Sometimes budgets can be tricky but since we offer such a wide array of options, we can always work within your budget to find an option that will complement your style.

La Tavola

What trends are you loving (or loving least!) these days?

I am obsessed with our velvet collection – it is almost like a suede and it is FABULOUS! The fabric is so lush and rich. The color wave has something for any season ranging from bold shades to muted tones and chic neutrals.

What is your favorite memory at La Tavola?

I loved working with Morgan Stewart from the #RichKids of Beverly Hills on her recent wedding to Brendan Fitzpatrick.   It was so fun to meet her and get to spend time with her working on her special day. She was so fun and had such a good time with the planning process.

La Tavola

Are there any other thoughts or additional insights you’d like to share (best tips, best advice)?

Visiting our showrooms and seeing the linens in person makes all the difference over browsing online. The fabrics really come to life and you can play around with different options to visualize what your wedding will look like.

La Tavola Linen

To learn more about La Tavola click here!

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Women tend to be natural givers. Often having an instinct to put the needs of others before their own — even when it comes to planning their weddings. 

Of course the engagement will always have stressful moments, there are lots of decisions to be made and it is up to you to make them. But that stress goes into overdrive when trying to accommodate the demands and expectations of others.

Here are six tips for handling stress and prioritizing self-care during your engagement, to feel calm, confident and relaxed in the busy months ahead. 

Prioritize What You Want

Before you were influenced by Pinterest, Martha Stewart, David Tutera, your best friend’s wedding, and your mother-in-law’s opinion, what did you want your wedding day to look like?

Make a list of the non-negotiable, must-have wedding details that represent your style and personality. Then only share this list with the people who need to know about it, such as your fiancé, your caterer, and wedding planner. The more people you tell, the more opinions you’ll receive, and eventually your personal touches may no longer feel like you.

Bridal Wellness 101

Stop Asking Opinions

Start getting very specific about whose opinion you ask for any wedding-related detail. More chatter, more opinions, and more decisions lead to more stress. Rather than having to validate your ideas with multiple people, become confident in making your own decisions and let your guests receive a lovely surprise on the big day. 

Get More Sleep

Everything feels more stressful late at night, and rarely is a good decision made in the early hours of the morning. Replying to vendor emails might seem urgent, but it’s not nearly as important as getting enough rest. Prioritize your sleep and watch as everything else falls into place a little more easily. 

Move Your Body Everyday

Not only does regular physical activity help you to look great on your big day, it also calms jangled nerves and boosts your mood. Keep in mind that exercise doesn’t have to be intense to be effective, and just 20 – 30 minutes a day can have a calming effect on the mind and still shape your bridal body. 

Don’t have time to get to the gym? I’ve got your covered! Download your free, Mind Body Bride 14-day at-home workout calendar right here!

Bridal Wellness 101

Swap Social Media For Real Face Time

Have you ever ended a session on Instagram or Facebook only to feel like your life and your wedding doesn’t match up to everyone else’s? Close that can of comparison worms and spend time engaging with friends and family face-to-face, or at least pick up the phone and have a chat. Bonus points if you don’t talk about the wedding!

Honor Your Yin

Life doesn’t stop because you’re planning a wedding, it may just become more hectic. We all know you are able to step up and work hard to move the wedding planning process forward, and also keep regular life humming along as usual.

While this is fantastic, it tends to draw from a very “yang” energy. Yang is masculine energy, it’s what you feel when you’re focused on completing a task, pouring out creativity and solving problems. But the expense of too much yang — i.e. decisions, responsibility, expectations — is the depletion of calm, softness, intuition, and nourishment (or your “yin” energy).

Remember as you continue planning your wedding that taking time to prioritize your feminine side will balance the flow of energy and bring you more peace, calm and joy as your continue to move through this very exciting time of life. 

With love,

Jennifer Dene

 

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Today we are so excited to share with you our interview with two of LA’s most talented floral designers – Jennifer Juhos and Nicole Renna of Fiore Designs.  Most everyone loves some gorgeous flowers and swoon-worthy florals are crucial to the design of a gorgeous event, but we wanted to dig a little bit deeper and learn more about the business of it all, score some insider tips, and get the scoop on Jennifer and Nicole themselves.  So let’s get to it!

What sparked your interest in floral design, Jennifer, and when and why did you start your own business?

I’ve been interested in flowers since I was a little girl, but never thought about floral design as a career.  After working in flower shops in high school & college, and helping write plans for other businesses, I decided to use my degrees in business & fine art and start my own business.  I started Fiore Designs in October of 1999!

Featured Pro Fiore Design

Since becoming a partnership what have you learned and how have things changed or grown?

So many wonderful things have developed in our business since becoming a partnership, most notably, a presence of balance.  After Nicole joined Fiore Designs, I was able to look at the business in a more objective way and really evaluate what was and wasn’t working.  We are constantly evolving and fine tuning our skill sets, which are so often complimentary.  I have happily returned to my design roots and collaborate with our amazing team to execute a vision, whether that be in our boutique, on weddings or our larger scale events!

What are the most important things a couple should keep in mind when meeting with their floral designer for the first time?

A couple should feel comfortable with their floral designer and confident that the designers will use their experience to create a lovely affair.  I find that if a couple is too consumed with making everything perfect, they sometimes lose sight and aren’t able to enjoy the magical parts of the creative process.

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What is the most helpful thing a client can bring to the table when it comes to planning the florals?

Themselves!  We love initial meetings with our clients, because they are usually casual and fun (and typically involve a lot of laughter).   In that first meeting, we really try to get a sense of the couples style and personality which helps drive the aesthetic of the florals and entire event.  Our goal is always to enhance & incorporate the couple’s uniqueness into the décor.

What is the best thing you’ve done for your business over the years?

Letting go and letting people help.  For so many years, I had to do everything myself (meet with clients, go to market to pick out flowers, design, write the proposals, update the website, pay the bills, and on and on) and I could feel myself burning out.  As we continue to grow and build our team, I’ve become much better at delegating tasks.  I’ve learned that by empowering our team, we can be much more efficient, and we are all better because of it.

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What is the greatest challenge you’ve come up against in running your own business?

Many aspects of running a business can be challenging, but that is also part of the fun.  Like most artistic people in business, I think keeping oneself motivated and “fresh” in creative development is a huge challenge.  Its easy to question yourself when you’re having an off day or create something that doesn’t feel right.  Sometimes I need to just step away for a while, then come back to a project in order to come at it from a different angle.

What’s the most important asset in running your business and leading a happy life?

Our team is our most important asset.  We spend so much time together, and truly are a Fiore family!  I believe that if you surround yourself with positive and hard working people, you can achieve a really balanced and happy life.  We try to create a fun and safe work environment, where we listen and support each other (and bicker too!) but most importantly try to always be respectful.

Are there any other thoughts or additional insights you’d like to share?

At the end of the day, its just flowers!  We try not to take ourselves or the business too seriously.  We are so lucky to be surrounded by beautiful things every day, we try to honor that and be thankful we can work with our hands and create beautiful things!

Featured Pro Fiore Design

To learn more about Fiore Designs, check out the wesite here!

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When we stopped by Caroline Tran’s photography studio last month, we were positively swept off our feet!  From the ethereal quality of her photos, to the hand-stitched detailing on her company booklets, she has clearly infused every aspect of her work with her own authentic touch.  We’re excited to share with you here some of Caroline’s thoughts, insights, and best advice.  We loved getting to know her and hope you’ll feel the same!

C & Co:  Caroline, what sparked your interest in photography and when did you start your business?

Caroline:  I started around 2007. I was fascinated with telling stories and being a part of people’s lives. My clients share really intimate moments with me and it’s such an honor to be trusted. I love capturing their stories through my perspective.

What keeps you going and inspired?

My clients, their stories, and our relationships. No two shoots are ever the same, even if it’s the same venue.

Caroline Tran

What are the Top 5 questions couples should ask their potential photographer (minus the obvious “Are you available on our wedding date?!” ;)

I feel finding the right photographer is more complicated than that – there aren’t 5 top questions to ask a potential spouse. At least I don’t work that way. Rather, I think there are 2 things to look for.

1. Style – you have to love their style. Everyone has a unique perspective and you can’t change that. You can ask a photographer to replicate a photo, but if situations are different and unexpected (and weddings are full of spontaneous moments), will they have captured it in the style you want your memories frozen in? Make sure their perspective is how you’d want to remember your day.

2. Chemistry – you can’t fake chemistry. The comfort you feel with your photographer will read on camera. Your photographer will be by your side for most of the day, so make sure it’s energy that you love and that brings out the best in you.

What is the most helpful thing a client can bring to the table when it comes to planning their day from a photography perspective?

Communication. Clear expectations are crucial for everyone to be happy. If you show your photographer inspiration, be explicit about what you like about it. For example, is it the lighting, the pose, the attire, the way the photo is processed, etc.

Caroline Tran

What’s the best thing you’ve done for your business over the years?

Strive for better work/life balance. I’m able to give more attention to each client and my family once I figured out how many shoots I can handle and stick to it.

What’s the most important asset in business or in life (e.g.; sense of humor or your Canon)?

Being flexible and rolling with the punches. Weddings and children can be spontaneous so being able to quickly adapt will help you maintain composure to keep your clients at ease. It applies to life too. :)

Caroline Tran

Find out more about Caroline and see more of her beautiful work:

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Pssssst….are you interested in becoming a photographer yourself?  Caroline teaches workshops too!  Check to see what’s coming up soon here!

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Today we are thrilled to introduce you to our favorite Bridal Wellness Expert, Jennifer Dene!  Over the coming months, Jenn will be guest posting on the blog here to share some of her meal plans, workouts, and best advice for staying calm, glowing, and healthy.  But first we thought we’d kick it off with a little introductory Q & A – let’s get to it!

What sparked your interest in healthy living and furthermore inspired you to create Mind Body Bride?

Growing up in rural Australia I was always involved in some kind of activity, from swimming to dance, to herding cows and sheep! My mum is also an amazing cook and instilled in my brother and me the importance of meals made at home and eaten with love. Unfortunately, as happens with too many young women, from the age of 16 I developed a series of eating disorders and thus began a long battle with my weight, fitness and self-esteem.

I became a certified personal trainer and Pilates instructor while I was studying journalism at university and had just started getting myself back on the road to health, yet when I moved to the USA in 2011 my old nemesis reared its head and I quickly gained 30 pounds within the first few months. I was devastated.

I was engaged at this time and in my desperation to lose weight quickly I turned to extreme diets and exercise routines. I felt trapped by the rules of the weight loss industry: Do this. Don’t do that. Eat this. Never eat that. But no matter what I did I couldn’t seem to lose weight.

As my wedding date approached I realized something had to change, and it had to start with me. I studied to become a holistic nutritionist through the Institute For Integrative Nutrition in New York, and created my own bridal health and fitness program that focused on whole-life wellness, not simply weight loss. It wasn’t long before I had reached my goals and for the first time in many years it required no effort to live at my ideal weight.

It was the combination of my personal history, my training in fitness, nutrition and health, and my experience of being a bride that inspired me to start Mind Body Bride. It is my passion to eliminate pre-wedding crash diets and negative self-talk, and to teach brides how they can look and feel amazing for the big day without diets and deprivation.

Tell us a bit about you and your business. Where are you located and (how or) where do clients work with you?

Through Mind Body Bride I provide fitness, nutrition and lifestyle coaching to busy brides-to-be. I work with clients all over the world through my virtual program, Bridal Elite Wellness, which includes weekly Skype calls, followed by a series of video workouts and meal plans for them to complete at home. I also train clients here in Los Angeles, at their homes or at my location in Beverly Hills. Historically all of my work has been one-on-one but I am now starting a series of small group programs for brides who enjoy the motivation and accountability of working with others.

Jennifer Dene

I loved learning about your lifestyle, fitness and training philosophy. Can you tell our readers about your program? Also, what are the initial and long-term goals you create with your clients and how your program differs from other diet or exercise plans?

Absolutely! My approach to wellness is three-pronged: body, mind and spirit. I teach my clients that to attain a Bombshell Bride body they must first honor their natural physical intuition and love themselves without criticism. My own weight loss happened when I shifted my mindset from one of negativity and deprivation to one of love and abundance, allowing me to not only shed physical weight but also the emotional weight that I had been carrying for over half a decade! You can eat all the broccoli in the world and go to yoga everyday, but if you aren’t nurturing yourself on an emotional level it’s highly unlikely that you’ll achieve (and maintain) the results that you desire.

With that said my program does dive deeply into fitness and nutrition with a four-week kick starter series that includes 12 body sculpting Bombshell Bride workouts, a gentle whole foods cleanse, self-care exercises that include meditation and mindful eating, and a good dose of pampering and relaxation thrown in!

How do you incorporate Mind-Body components into a bride’s busy work/life balance? Any tips to get us going?

The key is to live in the moment as much as possible. Try not to multi-task too often, spend quality time with your fiancé away from wedding planning and take a few moments each day to just sit in silence and breathe. Oh, and remember that none of us ever get through that to-do list, so stop feeling guilty about it!

Any myths that you want to bust right here and now?

You know your body better than anyone else on the planet. Don’t take fitness and nutrition advice as gospel, and regain control of your health by figuring out what works best for you. I have a piece of chocolate and a cup of coffee every morning and I’ve never felt better, so go ahead and break some rules!

What’s the best thing you’ve done for your business over the years?

Just getting started!! Haha! Being a perfectionist, I was hesitant about launching Mind Body Bride until it was perfect, until one day I just did it. I believe that in business, as in health and fitness, you just have to throw your ideas up on the wall and you’ll see what sticks. Even over the past 14 months my business has grown and changed dramatically, in ways that I could never have anticipated if I had stayed in the planning stage.

What keeps you going and inspired?

Meeting new brides, hearing their stories and seeing their successes is the most energizing thing for me. I love my work and I’m so lucky to be able to do it everyday.

A really good playlist never hurts either.

Do you have a guilty pleasure (food or otherwise)?

Several, I’m sure! I love cheese and bread so much that it should be illegal, and I’m also hooked on the television show Revenge.

Jenn, I am so excited to be partnering up with you. I cannot wait to work the Mind Body Bride program and feature you as a guest contributor in the coming months. Can you give us any insight into what we can look forward to learning?

I’m thrilled as well, it’s going to be such fun! In the coming months I’ll be sharing how to create bridal meal plans and workouts, some simple tips for achieving glowing wedding day skin and healthy date ideas for you and your fiancé, just to name a few.

Check back in with us on Monday for Jenn’s first guest post!

Jennifer Dene's Mind Body Bride

Learn and see more of Jenn and her work:

MindBodyBride.com

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