Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I've been a bit remiss in blog posting for the past week -- and the holidays are to blame! December has been a non-stop month, but in a good way.  I am heading home to visit my family in Southern California tomorrow and can't wait to spend the holidays with them, including my new nephew Ben!

to you and your family, and safe travels!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Five Quick Tips from Daniela Ferdico Faget of Bella Signature Design

If you're looking for a planner and floral designer with sass and style, look no further than Seattle's Daniela Ferdico Faget of Bella Signature Design. I met Daniela at Engage Palm Beach where we were roommates (courtesy of our mutual friend, fellow Bay Area wedding planner Trisha Dean). Daniela's background is fascinating -- prior to entering the wedding industry, she worked as a neuropsychologist! In addition to Bella Signature Design, Daniela also owns Bloom by Bella for Seattle brides looking strictly for just florals. Daniela also owns a company called Varmala Wedding Design, which offers wedding design specifically for Indian couples based on her years of experience working with couples planning Indian weddings. With her diverse background, I thought that Daniela was the perfect candidate to share her five quick tips for planning your wedding. So without further ado, here are Daniela's tips!

Photo credit: Orange Photography
1. For decor: Go big on one WOW decor item. One wow feature will give you a lot more bang for you buck and add drama then lots of little ones spread throughout the room.

2.  Be realistic: If you want a wedding with all seasonal, local ingredients, make sure your wedding date reflects your wishes -- as an example, there are no heirloom tomatoes or Garden roses in Seattle in November.

3.  Enjoy the process:  Do whatever you can to make this process of planning your wedding fun and enjoyable.  If it starts being stressful, hire someone to help you.  If you love the DIY stuff, schedule time for it so it's not all at the last minute.

4.  Personal design pet peeve:  You simply MUST have linens that go to the floor on your rental tables.  At all costs. Nothing is worse than linens that show the scratched up metals table legs of the rental tables. And no, doing "points," as many caterers will suggest, will NOT cover them.

5.  Breathe. The important part of the process is that you are marrying the love of your life. Never forget that!

We asked Daniela a few more questions...

What was your favorite thing about your wedding?
Finding a spot that was meaningful to us as a couple.

If you could change one thing about your wedding, what would it be?
I would change doing any work myself. Since we were married in the Caribbean with no designers anywhere, I did my own flowers, brought in my linens, etc. WAY to much work before my wedding day!  While everyone was relaxing, sailing and snorkeling, I was shut away in an air conditioned room making centerpieces. They were just what I wanted, but not worth the time it took away from friends in such an incredible setting.

Thanks, Daniela, for sharing your wonderful tips!

If you would like to be featured in our Five Quick Tips column, please contact me at info AT amynichols DOT com.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Pretty in Pink Nutcracker Dessert Party from Hostess with the Mostess!

Nothing says childhood Christmas memories to me like the Nutcracker, so when I saw this Nutcracker themed dessert party on Hostess with the Mostess, I just had to share! The party was designed by the oh-so-talented Kate Landers of Kate Landers Events (she even offers a "Party School" if you're looking to learn more about creating your own kids' party biz!).  The adorable pictures are courtesy of Liza Voll

What I especially love about this is unlike most holiday parties out there, the color scheme was pretty in pink instead of the traditional red and green. The dessert table does a great job of having items with varying heights -- you'll notice in the feature that the sweets and containers are not all on one plane which is essential for creating interest for the eyes.

Visit the Hostess with the Mostess Blog to see the entire adorable party! 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Five Quick Tips from Brian Leahy of The Groom Says Blog

Photo credit: Joanna Wilson Photography
We have a first today! Since I started the "5 Quick Tips" series on my blog, we've had a bevy of awesome women who work in the wedding industry. Well, we're finally mixing it up with our first interview with a member of the opposite sex. I'm thrilled to kick it off the male point-of-view with Brian Leahy of The Groom Says blog.

I asked Brian to tell us a little bit about his background and how he ended up in the wedding industry, and here's what he shared.

"I was thrust into the world of weddings in 2005 when I joined the team at David Beahm Design as a lowly office assistant. Under the unparalleled tutelage of David Beahm, I learned the ins and outs and behind-the-scenes of planning and even designed a few parties of my own. And later, photographing events alongside my future wife, trailing the grooms from their hotel rooms to the altar, I was able to see the big day from the groom's perspective. But only occasionally is The Groom Says a legitimate guide to planning; 9 times out of 10, it's just me wading blindly through the huhs and whats and WTFs of planning your own wedding. It's my very own virtual stress ball."

Without further ado, newlywed Brian shares his 5 Quick Tips:

1. Sit down with your fiancé or fiancée and begin your wedding process as all professional planners and designers do: with a blank sheet of paper.

2. And once the front, back and margins of that blank sheet of paper are overflowing with ideas, details and must-haves ... accept the fact that you'll probably discard half of them in the next few months. Be open to change.

3. Wedding spreadsheets and checklists are overrated. While it was occasionally helpful to check in and see how behind we were on groomsmen attire, it was more up our alley to do a virtual "walk-through" of the wedding and look at the event from our guests' perspective.

4. You cannot show your wedding party enough love and appreciation for all that they do and all the inane and mundane tasks they will assume on your big day.

5. There are things that are simply out of your control. The big, metallic Halal truck that sits outside of your pristine reception venue is simply out of your control. Focus instead on the millions of things that are in your control. You've got enough to stress over.

Brian shares a few of his favorite things about his own wedding:

What was your favorite thing about your own wedding?
I'm cheating. I have two:
1. We decided that my groomsmen and I would be at the ceremony venue as guests arrive (as opposed to entering as part of the processional), and I'm so glad we went that route. I was able to take it all in, welcome both families and friends, and get all of the crying out before the big moment.

2. The 2-hour vintage cab ride through Manhattan with my bride after the reception. It was the classiest and most romantic ending to an amazing evening.

If you could change one thing about your wedding, what would it be?
Our families were split between two hotels (one couldn't accommodate both clans), and while the two hotels were within walking distance of one another, it was too much of a hassle. We wanted to be in both places at once, which just isn't possible.

Thanks, Brian, for sharing the male perspective!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mini Holiday Dessert Table

This past week I hosted a Stella & Dot Jewelry Party for my friend Alexis. Not content to just leave it at that,  I was inspired to create a small (but cute) dessert table for the party. My dining room walls are green (Benjamin Moore's "Sweet Caroline") so I though they'd be the perfect backdrop for red tissue paper pom-poms. While I think the table turned out adorable, I am so mad at myself for not ironing the tablecloth ahead of time! Hopefully this is a good learning for anyone out there doing a dessert table (and myself!). Regardless of my lack-of-ironing, I wanted to share the pictures, taken by my friend, the lovely Elisa Cicinelli, who is based here in San Francisco. She is a fantastic wedding photographer -- take a look at her website, here.

I like to "anchor" dessert tables with something as a backdrop (the tissue poms here) and then added a Hip Hooray banner.
A closeup of the table. This was a small table - only 4' wide.

I love these mini cupcake pom-pom toppers from Potter & Butler. In the background, pretzels dipped in white chocolate and candy canes!

Marshmallows dipped in candy cane. YUM!

Holiday bumblegum and crazy addictive chocolate covered Oreos topped with candy cane dust.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Classic Ferry Building Elegance - Real Wedding at the Ferry Building

Whenever I get an email from Style Me Pretty telling me they've chosen one of my weddings to be featured on their website, I literally do a little happy dance. I've been a member of the Little Black Book since 2007 when Style Me Pretty launched (hard to believe it was only three years ago!) I think of it as the gold-standard in the industry, and I'm sure it is directly responsible for inspiring many of the wedding bloggers out there who do what they love to do every day!

Yesterday, Style Me Pretty featured my clients' Taylor and John's elegant Ferry Building nuptials, photographed beautifully by Julie Mikos. This was such a fun wedding and I really loved working with Taylor and John and Taylor's mom, Kathy, who was an integral part of the planning process.

We had a great team of vendors including Paula Le Duc Fine Catering, Lidia of La Fleuriste, and Gabby of Cake Coquette.

Here are a few favorite pictures -- for the rest of the feature, please visit StyleMePretty.com!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Style Me Pretty Feature Today!

We're going to be on StyleMePretty.com today! They will be featuring a wedding from earlier this year that took place at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, photographed by Julie Mikos. The post should be up sometime tomorrow afternoon.

In the interim, if you'd like to check out some of our other features on StyleMePretty -- here are a few links to tide you over!
To see more of our weddings featured on StyleMePretty.com -- check out the home page of the blog and see more links under "Amy's Featured Weddings".

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Marin Headlands Engagement Session with Joel Flory

Confession: when I see engagement sessions on my favorite wedding blogs, I often quickly skim past them and scroll to the next wedding (I know that photographers are cringing to hear me say that). Being a planner, I of course want to see DETAILS, so I love real wedding blog features for just that. I find in general that engagement shoots have gotten to be so gimmicky, and I see couples using way too many props -- often things that aren't even relevant to them. But I completely see the value in engagement shoots and highly encourage my clients to schedule them so that they (and their photographer/s) can get more comfortable with each other. It is such a great opportunity for brides and grooms to relax in front of the camera and have a little fun.

Today's engagement shoot is so incredibly beautiful, and gimmick-free. It took place in the Marin Headlands, quite possibly one of the most breath-taking places in Northern California. These pictures make me realize that I need to spend more time outside.

05floryphoto_engagement_marinRegardless of how you feel about engagement sessions, I think you'll like these adorable pictures from the Flory Photo team. I had the pleasure of finally meeting Joel, his wife Cara, and one of the cutest almost-two-year olds I've ever met, Ingrid, this weekend. What a nice family and great team! I am so excited to work with Joel on Natalie and Seth's wedding next year. Enjoy these awesome pics!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Amazing Invites Plus Real Wedding!

One of my clients from last year is now living in Hong Kong and writes a super cute blog, Hong Kong Housewife (her logo is to-die-for, by the way!). Earlier this fall, she wrote a post about the anniversary card she received from her invitation designer, Erika of Gleaux. Erika is one of those invitation designers that you need to know about if you're in this business, or if you have a love of paper. When you see one of her invitations, you just know it's hers -- they're custom designed for her clients, incorporating elements that are unique to them.

I absolutely LOVED the invitations Erika designed for my clients, Nick and Natasha for their wedding last year. Nick collects stock certificates and Natasha wanted to create an invitation that reflected that, but also included a second page with map elements to share locations that were important during their courtship, and also included the venues for their wedding. The result was beautiful -- an oversized invitation shown above, which included a logo (NLN) that was incorporated in other wedding details as well. Visit Natasha's blog to see more details, including the response card, rehearsal dinner and pool party invites!

Even more touching, Erika created an anniversary card (below) with elements from their wedding invitation which Natasha wrote about here on her blog. How cute is this? And what a nice gesture to send to your clients! If you're interested in Erika's work, you can also check out her collection on minted.com.

I wanted to share some pictures from the wedding as well -- Natasha clearly identified her theme early and stayed true to it throughout the planning process.  Natasha and Nick were incredibly lucky to have a BEAUTIFUL San Francisco day -- it was unusually warm, and the view of the San Francisco bay from 1 Fort Mason was stunning. All pictures were taken by Coba Images.

I love these bouquets! Such a fun pop of color against the dark blue dresses.

Yellow JCrew shoes

The head table

Cocktails took place outside of 1 Fort Mason with a stunning view of the San Francisco Bay

Precious flower girls

Ribbons ran the length of tables, and each guest was greeted with a menu detailing the various courses. Each course featured a special beer pairing.
Baseball-inspired snacks passed during cocktails

Cocktail hour beverage offerings

Tables were named after places that were meaningful to Nick & Natasha

Natasha's aunt made an delicious carrot cake and chocolate cupcakes - YUM!

Guests were given beautiful lemon notecard favors at the end of the evening
I love this blue and yellow plaid ring pillow

Ribbons on the bride & groom's chairs
Nick & Natasha arrive at 1 Fort Mason
Festive cocktails adorned with blue and white striped straws

Nick and Natasha on the picturesque Lyon Street Stairs
Lemon sorbet!
Gorgeous champagne flutes for the bride and groom

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Five Quick Tips from Shira Savada, Real Weddings Editor for Martha Stewart Weddings

Photo credit:  Roey Yohai
I'm so excited to share today's 5 Quick Tips from Shira Savada! Shira is the real weddings editor at Martha Stewart Weddings, where she has been working with real brides and industry vendors for the last three years. In addition to covering weddings for the magazine, featuring them on the website, and talking about them on The Bride’s Guide blog, Shira stays busy being a bridesmaid and helping her friends plan their big days.

Without further ado, here are Shira's 5 Quick Tips:

1. Keep the traditions in mind, but don’t be afraid to make up new ones. It is a wedding after all and there should be some sense of that, but it should be YOUR wedding.

2. Make sure to loop your photographer in on all of the elements and special details of the day. Providing a list of all the people you want portraits of is a great starting point, but you should also list all of the things you’ve been laboring over for months… the invitations and save the dates, the welcome bags of local goodies, your bouquet with the family heirloom tied on with ribbons, the perfect cufflinks you finally found for your groom, etc.

3. If you’re going to do a wedding favor, make it something that reflects who you are as a couple but is something that your guests will want to take home with them. It’s so sad seeing leftover favors at the end of the wedding. There is no need to do something just for the sake of doing it. If you’d rather make a ferocious welcome bag, or allot that money for another part of your budget, that’s fair game.

4. Eat something! Your stomach may be a ball of nerves all day or you may be taking portraits and not want to mess up your makeup. But you NEED to eat. Ask your caterer prepare a plate for you and your groom to nibble on during cocktails. Don’t wait until the seated dinner, after all you’ve ingested is bubbly, to fill up. You can get light-headed and ravishing.

5. Go for a hair and makeup trial. Yes, it is an additional expense. But you’ve gone for fittings in your dress and this is the only other thing that will directly affect the way you feel and the way you look. You want to be comfortable and know that the morning of your wedding, as you sit in that chair to get ready, you know you’ll look and feel as beautiful as you’d always dreamed.

We also asked Shira, what will you DEFINITELY do at your wedding when you get married?
A photobooth! I am obsessed with them and would do more than one if that weren’t a bit crazy. Some of my favorite photos are from photobooths over the years and I could probably cover a sizeable wall with strips and photos. I have never met a photobooth I didn’t love, nor have I attended a wedding with one that I didn’t pose in at least once.

Thanks, Shira, for your awesome tips! As everyone knows, I'm a HUGE fan of Martha Stewart Weddings so it is a real honor to have Shira's tips.

If you would like to be featured in our Five Quick Tips column, please contact me at info AT amynichols DOT com.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's our Five Year Anniversary!

Today is the fifth year anniversary of Amy Nichols Special Events! It is hard to believe that it has been five years already!  The success of my company would not be possible without the endless support of my friends and family, and of course the amazing couples I have had the pleasure of working with. I am so very thankful too to my industry colleagues, friends in the media, and everyone who has helped me (often without even knowing it) over the past several years. In addition, I am incredibly grateful for the various coordinators and assistants who have worked with me -- and especially my current "team" -- Erin, Janice, Cindy and our newest team member, Susan.

I have really enjoyed blogging over the past several months, and am thankful to those of you who read my blog and hope you have fun reading it too. I am feeling a bit behind with blogging this week, but have an exciting reason -- my family welcomed our latest addition, my nephew Ben on Monday. I have loved being an aunt to his big sister Maddie for the past four years, and she may be a little wedding planner in the making. The other night she asked me to read her wedding magazines for her bedtime stories (she loves flipping through them already - no joke!).

I'm looking forward to the next five years, and many exciting things on the horizon!
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