In the News

Well hello there! Yes, Socialize is still alive and doing well! As you might have guessed, it’s been keeping me busy. But more to come on what’s been going on in my little event planning world.

But today, you just need to check out a Des Moines Register online article where I’m quoted (on behalf of Socialize) on how Pinterest is helping brides to plan their weddings.

You’ve heard of Pinterest, right?

In case you need more inspiration – you can check out my boards here.


If I promise to post more next week, will you keep reading? Pretty please?

The hours have just slipped away far too quickly the last couple weeks. Throw in a consulting project, a new 10-week business workshop and a couple days being sick and that’s how we get from February 3rd to February 17th with only one post in between. And today’s won’t be long because it’s my birthday! The big 3-0! So I’m off to have a small celebration with my husband and a few dear friends. The big party comes next weekend so I have plenty to post about in the days to come.

In the meantime, I want to send you over to the Des Moines Wedding Savvy site created by the ever-so-wonderful Rachel. In her blog she wrote a post about Socialize that is one of the best birthday presents I could have gotten!  Well, that and the fact that I think I found myself a new friend. Rachel is sweet, stylish, fun and a an all around great gal. And talk about a “get-er done gal” (see DMWS post) Rachel started her site just a few months ago and is already becoming the authority on all things Des Moines wedding. One of the best parts about Socialize is getting to meet people like her! So a big thanks to Rachel and Des Moines Wedding Savvy. If you’re a bride-to-be; make sure you check out her WHOLE site!

Since a good part of the country is buried under snow today, how about a reminder that summer will (eventually) be back? Or will that just be rubbing it in?
This cheery event made the rounds on wedding blogs last summer and I think now is just about the perfect time to bring it back…

All images via my bride story wedding & events

Don’t you feel warmer already?

If you really look at the materials that were used, you’ll see that things were created fairly inexpensively for the event but still created a creative and cohesive theme. Of course, the flowers weren’t cheap, but notice how large blooms were used in concentrated groupings – that will give you a lot of impact for your money. For more information from the wedding designer and planner who put this together, grab another cup of hot cocoa, curl up and click here.

Today and tomorrow (and maybe for a few days after that), a large swath of the country is going to be dealing with a monstrous snowstorm. Even Dallas, Texas is under a freeze warning! For many of us, winter is just another part of the year. There is always a possibility that the weather will cancel your plans. This presents some inconvenience when you’re calling off a committee meeting, a class or a networking event. But what if it’s something with a significant investment involved – whether on your part or that of your guests?

For most people, calling off an event isn’t going to cause too much pain. There will be some rescheduling, you may face a loss of a vendor deposit, etc. But before any of this happens, you should still have a plan in place if you need to make the call.

-First and foremost, determine the definite reasons for calling off the event. Natural disasters are an obvious one, but it may get a little fuzzy after that. When does it go beyond what your contigency plan can handle? How icy do the roads have to be before you cancel? If a thunderstorm is predicted during an outdoor event; do you call it off completely or just have everyone take cover if lightning presents? If your keynote speaker falls ill but all other presenters can make it, do you proceed? These things need to be considered. You can’t account for every possibility but making some of these decisions will guide you for whatever may come up.

– The next thing you need to know is how you will communicate a cancellation to your attendees. Will it be personal calls, emails? Call the local TV and radio stations so they can include it in announcements if necessary. It never hurts to make your cancellation policies public knowledge either. Sidenote: This is also another reason why I am a huge advocate for creating registration systems or asking guests to RSVP. It’s so much easier to target your audience if you know who is coming and you have their contact information!

-Don’t forget your vendors! Always check cancellation policies on contracts and be aware of the costs you may incur with a late cancellation. If you are considering calling things off, let your vendors know so if they are able, they can hold off on preparations and deliveries.

However, if you are holding an event like a wedding or reunion that requires a lot of vendor deposits and expense, you may want to consider event cancellation insurance. Yes, it exists. (For some more in-depth information on event cancellation insurance, see here.)

If you’re holding an event that is supposed to generate income – like fundraisers, festivals, conventions, concerts, tournaments – you should definitely have event cancellation insurance. Of course, these things are generally major undertaking so I’m likely preaching to the pros on this one.

via Washington Post

The main thing to remember is that an important part of planning is planning on your event not happening. Even if you’re planning a baby shower for 20 – consider a cancellation plan. It will be much easier to tell the mommy-to-be (or other guest of honor) that the party is off if she knows in advance, the conditions for canceling.

It is not the most fun part of planning but it will serve you better than blind hope and keeping your fingers crossed!

I thought it would be nice to sprinkle around some Local Love* posts for the some of the fabulous vendors Socialize has had the opportunity to work with and probably some of those we hope to work with in Central Iowa!

For the inaugural Local Love post – I am actually going with someone I worked with on a more personal level – my wedding photographer, Mark Kegans. But don’t worry -I had already been in the event biz for three years by the time I worked with him so he was carefully evaluated with my already developed event planning eye!

All photos are the work of Mark Kegans. This photo is of my lovely friend, Alexson. In the background is Iowa’s great State Capitol building in the Des Moines East Village.
Mark truly is a photojournalist at heart. What keeps him busy these days is his wedding business but he’ll still to things for some small-time publications; like the New York Times. I think explaining Mark’s style is best put in his own words (from the “What the FAQ” section of his website). 
“You get dressed up, say your vows, party, dance and fall in love all over again. I take pictures. Documentary, photojournalistic, reportage, lifestyle, candid, ninja, whatever you want to call it, it means that I work as the proverbial ‘fly on the wall.’ I don’t direct. I don’t work off of preconceived ‘must-have’ shot lists. My goal is to capture your wedding and all its glorious, messy reality.”
Mark takes beautiful, REAL images away from whatever he shoots. He understands the importance of the obligatory formal shots but his true talent shines through when he is telling the story of your day in his images. Don’t worry brides – he will follow your must-take shots but the more free and photojournalistic you allow him to be – the more you are going to love your photos.
Mark searches for the quirk and humor in the day and I think generally, the human experience. But I think his favorite part of what he does is that he gets to capture a day full of love. This means his shots of the new bride and groom try to capture all of the emotion and beauty of the day.
I still pull Mark’s photos from my wedding day out at least once a month. Each one reminds me of some special moment or image that I treasure from that day and get to re-live, just a little. (For anyone who want to see more of what those in the biz like to call “wedding porn” – you can check more of my very own wedding shots here:   password: shinkunas)
As Mark’s website states, “If you really, truly, madly, deeply love good photography and gotta have it for your wedding or family;” contact him. I highly recommend that you do!
*Socialize blog’s Local Love posts are not sponsored and will not be available for sponsorship.

For what it’s worth – I feel bad for not writing anything for so long. Once again, the month has been crazy and I let myself get overwhelmed. Everyday I thought, “I’m too busy today. I’ll blog tomorrow.” Fiddle-dee-dee! Then I realized, I will probably never have “time” to blog unless I just make it a part of my day. So let’s see what I can do!
In addition to not blogging, I also ignored my Google Reader for at least two weeks, accumulating approximately 976 posts to read. Fun! One thing I came across that I wanted to share was this deliciously girly wedding that I came across on Something Borrowed, Something Fabu.

Side note before we get started: I promise I won’t feature too many weddings, but when I come across things that could provide inspiration and easily translate to other celebrations, I probably won’t be able to help myself.

All images via Something Borrowed, Something Fabu.

Holy Flowers! I don’t even know if this was used for anything or was just part of the decor. Fantastic!

Shrimp cocktail is such an easy appetizer but add a sculpted, LIGHTED ice tray and it becomes a great feature. If you’re willing to experiment, this is probably an easy addition to your next appetizer table. Grab a few containers or trays, fill with water and freeze (a la ice luminaries) and throw in some of these bad boys.

Wow, just wow. No tips here except to find a fabulous cakestress and channel your birthday cake dreams from when you were a little girl. (If any friends are out there reading, THIS is what I want for my 30th birthday.) Apparently, the bride was inspired by Marie Antoinette and I think she translated her vision perfectly with this cake.

How sweet is this? Dessert buffets are everywhere and while they are a great addition to a celebration, a cotton candy treat is a refreshing change of pace. It would certainly set a fun, lighthearted mood for your guests.

Loveliness all around!

After all the planning and crafting and schedule-writing (and re-writing), it all came down to one thing – the day that I married my wonderful husband. But I won’t get too mushy on you all – you’re just here for the wedding porn, right?!
A couple other things that I did not have the skills to DIY were the cake and the flowers. I had to put these into the hands of vendors and could not have been happier with the results!

 All photos by the amazing Mark Kegans

Our cake by Donna Flewelling.
P.S. – notice the candles on the table. I forgot to mention that I either spraypainted or decorated (with ribbons and crystals) 148 votives. 

 Bouquets from Sunnybrook Flower Shop
Despite all my work, the best looking part of the celebration was our wedding party. Check out these hotties!
Of course, we couldn’t stay serious for long…
All formal pics were actually taken AFTER the ceremony. My husband-to-be didn’t want to see each other before I walked down the aisle! As an event planner, this was hard for me to agree too (totally threw a wrench into my schedule!) but I was glad I did!
After the ceremony, guests headed to cocktail hour in the Orpheum foyer while we took our formal pics (and a few fun ones too!).
 Cocktail table decor
 A great shot of one of the chandeliers in the foyer.
Once we made our entrance into the reception, we cut the cake before we invited our guests to the stage for dinner. This may seem a little backwards but it was nice to go directly to the cake right after being announced because everyone was paying attention!
I know I said I wouldn’t get mushy but Kurt and I snuck away with our wonderful photographer for a few shots that I have to share.
The Orpheum staff customized the marquee for me. Well, they do it for all their receptions. What a great touch!
My favorite picture of the day. 
We returned to the reception to celebrate our love and brand new marriage with our friends and family. We dance the night away in the beautiful foyer of the Orpheum and then, started our married life together!!

Note: I promise that I did actually write this post on Sunday. But Blogger was having some issues during the last 20 hours.
After gathering inspiration from all kinds of sources (yes, I practically lived on I started to make decisions on how to make my (budget) Modern Glam vision come to life. But the first step was one that I could not DIY – I had to find the dress. I wanted it to complement the Orpheum and be something that people hadn’t seen before. I tried on a LOT of dresses:
before I found The One:
Maggie Sottero Evita (love, love, still love it)
Then it was time to get down to the DIY; well, almost. I wanted to use a chandelier motif to go with all of the gorgeous chandeliers at the Orpheum. However, my design attempt didn’t get very far:
Fortunately for those who want to use this lovely theme now, it’s widely being used in invitation designs. It was just getting popular when I was looking for it so I couldn’t find quite what I needed. Instead I went to Etsy (also fairly new two years ago) and bought these lovelies:
Invitation by fubabee. Photo by Mark Kegans.
So I missed my chandy on the invites but did find a few other places to use it:
Stamped on coasters for cocktail hour;
Stamped and embossed on place cards; (photo by Mark Kegans.)
and on the labels for the CD we gave as favors. (Photo by Mark Kegans.)
We were holding dinner on the stage which, while lovely, may as well have been outdoors! The ceiling was so tall that I knew it would be hard to make the space feel like it was filled. I decided to do both low and high centerpieces to create some more atmosphere. Half of the tables would have Eiffel vases with some gold sprays I found that couldn’t have been more perfect.
 Everyone in my family went on the hunt for these!
The other tables would use pillar candles, a gold charger and pearls. But during my test runs I couldn’t get it quite right…
Don’t worry, no fake flowers were planned for the actual centerpieces.
Eventually, the 6 inch candle was replaced by pink candles that my mom, my sisters and I spent one night customizing.
The place settings from this post, and the centerpieces too, would have been a perfect finish to the table. But…I would probably still be paying those off today. So the final touch on the tables were framed numbers:
Little sister lovingly cut and assembled everything.
A few more DIY projects were also completed for the ceremony. Quite a few nights were spent pinning flowers to styrofoam balls that would line the aisle:
 Photo by Mark Kegans.
I used our engagement photos on my DIY programs which I probably had way to much fun designing and writing!
Photo by Mark Kegans.
Actually, I had far too much fun with all of it. Which is one of the reasons why I love to see the weddings and parties that others have planned. It’s great to know that other people enjoy putting together all of the details that make a celebration special. But no matter how much I liked putting everything together, nothing compared to seeing it all come together to celebrate our wedding day!

Two years ago, I had the most wonderful weekend with my friends, family and the love of my life. On June 7th 2008 (6/7/08!), I got married! I loved every minute of our wedding and every minute of planning it.
Engagement photo by Mark Kegans
We decided to get married in Sioux City, where most of both our families live. Admittedly, I was a little nervous about finding the perfect spot for our reception with the limited in the options in the area. But then, we found the Orpheum Theatre,. and I knew it would be the perfect place to celebrate with our loved ones. 
The auditorium in the Orpheum (left). After viewing our photo montage video on the big screen, we had dinner on the stage. The grand foyer (right) where we held cocktail hour and then dancing.
The venue became my inspiration for planning a modern glamour themed wedding using pink, gold and ivory for the color palette. I created this inspiration board to guide me.
The only problem was that I did not have a modern glam budget! That meant a LOT of bargain shopping and DIY projects. I would love to do it all over again but for now, let’s just re-live it! 😉