A POSH Event: Sneak Peak- Larissa marries Julio

(Photo Courtesy of Euan Henry Photography)
Larissa & Julio were an amazing couple with an eye for detail and design like no other. I'm so excited to share with you the details of their holiday weekend wedding with you!



Totally inappropriate title, but the perfect way to introduce what I am anticipating will be one of the greatest pieces of our wedding experience, the music.

One of the most obvious passions that Mr. C and I share as a couple is our love for music. It’s always playing. We love a mix of old school r&b, soul, big band and a little bit of country. We’ve spent many of Sundays watching videos on YouTube of performances from some of the industry greats and belting out the lyrics as a team. We are dorks. Certifiable dorks.

It was three years ago that I first had the pleasure of speaking with Brian Lizzi. You know those people that it takes about 5 seconds of speaking to, to feel like you’ve known them forever? Brian is that guy.

I was doing vendor confirmations for the Fanelle Wedding and our conversation ended something like this:

Brian: "Have you ever heard our band play?”
Me: "No, I have not had the fortune".
Brian: "Well, I can promise you this. You will be angry with me at the end of the night".
Me-(Totally perplexed)"why"?
Brian: "Because our band is going to be so good, no one is going to want to go home".

Well, I took what Brian said with a grain of salt because, well you know, all vendors try to sell to the wedding planner/ It’s just what they do. True to his word, the end of the magnificent night came and went and after four straight hours of watching approximately 200 people up and at it all night, I was impressed. I was also sold. That would be my wedding band.

Fast forward a few years later. Shortly after we booked the venue I had a candid conversation with Mr. Charming. Of course, this one was going to be a bit more difficult. You see, when you date a wedding planner, there are some things you pick up by nature. One of which most people would assume. A band is WAY more expensive than the average dj. To make matters worse, a phenomenal band…is double that. My first attempt at the band conversation was pretty much a bust. Not only did Mr. Charming want a dj, his high school friend is a well known professional dj that has been on the radio and doing celebrity events for years. After failing miserably at that conversation, I decided to change my approach. I asked Mr. Charming if he would go with me to a complimentary showcase, followed by a lunch date with yours truly. He couldn’t resist. We head out to our planned excursion and low and behold... traffic. Traffic=late arrival. No sweat I thought, there is no way they will go on first. There are seven acts. We get in and wouldn’t you know it, there is my band, doing their last song of the set.


Since we were already there, we agreed to just stay and listening to the other bands that CTO had to offer. Mr. Charming had a great time, we sang along, we took notes, it was awesome. He still hadn’t heard MY band though. True to form, Brian came over at the end of the set and introduced himself to Mr. Charming. I explained to him that we missed the band and he introduced us to Carmen, the owner. Carmen and Brian then escorted us to the private listening room where we watched the band’s latest performance on the big screen. Mr. Charming was sold.

In 98 days I will get to hear my favorite band in my favorite room with my favorite people and my better half and I’m bursting with excitement. Yes, the expense is astronomical in comparison, but like anything else, when looking at your budget, you must prioritize, and we did. We’re pretty sure there will not be any “I wanna sex you up” playing on our big day, but I know that Brian will keep his promise to me, a promise he made three years ago, to give the guests an experience they will never forget.

Without further ado, our band, CTO 5th Ave



The Timeline

As we prepare ourselves for the close of our season with seven weddings left for the year, I've been knee deep in timelines. Make that waist deep.

In the area I'm pretty well known for my timelines. Upon initial glance, they look utterly ridiculous. Seriously, I know this. I always distribute them to the vendors with the caveat to scan for your name and confirm only those items. An average event timeline for us is about 9 pages and can go anywhere up to fifteen. A few years ago, I had a limo driver, whom apparently provided transportation for quite a few of our couples, come up to me and say I always smile when I see your timeline, I know I'm working with you and exactly what we're going to be doing.

Mission accomplished.

We've developed our timeline so that everyone, every single player on our vendor team, knows what is going on that day. Though we are there to facilitate the day, I figure maybe, just maybe, it would help to have an overview of the day that everyone can have access to, just in case. I know I would appreciate it if I was the photographer knowing that the videographer is arriving half an hour before my scheduled arrival, who they are and where they are going first, just in case I want to coordinate with them. I also know that the venue coordinator probably would like to know if they florist plans on coming for setup earlier than initially anticipated and will be making multiple trips during the day and grandmom's corsage will be left on the second trip, just to make my job easier.

I know I'm one of the few in the area, probably the industry, who do things this way and it's totally ok with me. I've seen some of my colleagues timelines and they range about 2-3 pages and I.Die. As a coordinator, it is a touchy topic though because you don't want to offend anyone or make them believe that you think they are incapable of executing a perfect event. It's what we specialize in. Instead, the vendors that actually get it, appreciate that they do not have to coordinate the "behind the scenes" as it is in writing exactly what the couple expects and they are able to confirm it is what they deliver. It's a win, win for all.

So, if you are preparing a timeline absent of a wedding coordinator,first call me we'd love to help. If that doesn't work out, here are the must haves for your document:

Name/Contact number for all parties involved
Arrival time (and conclusion time) for all of your vendors
Pickup/Drop Off locations for transportation
Prepping locations for the bride and groom
Ceremony program order
Reception timeline (general) including names with phonetic spellings and songs for formalities
Name of individual responsible for taking items home
Contact individual name and number on the day of.
Also include with your timelines copies of all the day's must haves as last pages. This includes directions to your venue, floorplan, checklists, etc.

Sample of our timelines (excuse the sloppy, ahem, "working" desk area):



I'm hoping this post helped some of you brides and grooms who are in the process of putting pen to paper. The best thing I can advise is when in doubt, write it down. Second best, call us! We'd love to help.


A Planner Plans: Stand by me

Will you be my At the alter and thru the craziness of wedding planning, friend, confidant and by my side girl? AKA bridesmaid?

Those were the words that began the email which I sent to the nine wonderful women that will stand beside me. Yes, you read correctly N-I-N-E.

I tried for the longest time to come up with a cute way to ask my bridesmaids to be a part of our wedding party and it was a major fail. I know these ladies. We've grown up together, laughed together, cried together and there was no card (hand made or store bought) that would ever be able to express how fortunate I feel to know them all. I used to host an annual girl's night out and invite all the girls to come into New York, stay at a hotel my treat, and go out for a night on the time. They are those type of friends.

Four of the nine I've known my entire life. We are family. I have one sister but was raised amongst many first cousins, close in age, close enough to feel more like sisters. I've known 2 of the remaining five girls for 20+ years and 1 for 18+. These women have been my very best friends for as long as I can remember. The next of the ladies, I proudly stood beside as her Maid of Honor one week from today. We met in college but quickly became the best of friends. Mr. Charming's sister rounds out the ninth addition of the group.

My posse roles deep! (Sorry I couldn't resist).

I quickly realized that I became the Bride I advise my clients not to be. To be honest, it's partially Mr. Charming's fault. Remember I mentioned he was an athlete? Well his friendships span 30 years and he was inviting EVERYONE to be a part of our day. Then reality struck. Large bridal party=Large expense and contrary to what I'd like to believe, we are not made out of money.

There would need to be some tweaking.

We decided (ok, I decided)early on in the planning process that we will not get married at the foot of a traditional aisle. This union is about our family and we want them to play a very active role in the entire event. Instead, we will either get married "in the round" or in a square configuration, surrounded by the people we love the most. My major concern with our large group, (we are at 20 including us) is that having 25% of the attending population, standing in a tiny space would look utterly ridiculous. But being in the wedding party they will obviously walk down, because that's just what you do.

Our compromise? Everyone will enter (my fab girls escorted by the groomsmen) and at the "foot" of the aisle separate and go to their seats. They will stand remain standing until I enter and be seated with the rest of the guests. Dilemma 1 solved.

Example of ceremony seating courtesy of my friend and colleague Juliet of Green Orchid Events


Issue #2. Floral costs. So.... 9 girls + 2 mothers + 9 groomsmen + 2 father figures + 2 ushers= ALOT of flowers. I always knew that I was not totally wowed by the idea of bridesmaids bouquets. Don't get me wrong they are lovely, but nothing hurts my heart more than setting them aside shortly after I remove them from the girls lined up during my couple's first dance, to go keep the cake company. I just knew I could not do it. I haven't exactly figured out if I will be substituting another object in the absence of the florals,I'm considering these fluerette cocktail rings (picture below) but for the time being, I have total faith in my ladies being able to keep their hands occupied during the ceremony. I've never understood the logic anyway. Dilemma #2 solved.

Fluerette Rings

Issue #3. Rehearsal Dinner. 30 people. Need I say more? Luckily Mama Charming has graciously offered to take care of this and we happily accepted. Dilemma #199 solved.

And because I would never tease you and end a post without atleast showing you what the girls will be strutting you go.


(Jim Hjelm Couture Alvina Valenta)


A Planner Plans: Get over yourself

These are the words that little voice in my head has played over and over and over again.

I design for a living. We plan events but we design desires. I have studied how to cultivate a vision into a day that is cohesive and "pretty". We're taught to soothe the senses with every event. So when it's your own the pressure is turned beyond high to produce.

The reality however, is this is not a production. It's our wedding. It's not a show stopping, must see, scalp tickets to type of event. If we didn't have all the "pretty" the emotion and the general feel of the day SHOULD remain the same. I have to remind myself of that on a daily basis. Some days are easier than others.

I want all the lovelies. I want to break out all the newness in my industry so my guests jaws will hit the floor. The truth is they are going to be awed regardless, because our wedding will not be like any they have seen. Breaking the bank won't make that any more or less true.

So, I have a deal with Mr. Charming. Our wedding our way. If something does not seem "authentic" to who we are, we pass no matter how tempting. This was the most ingenious idea EVER. I so wish I came up with it myself.

Once I realized I needed to get over "myself" and who I felt the industry dictates I as a bride needed to be, the wheels began to turn.

With a little assistance from my amazing colleague and friend, LeTrice Penn of LePenn Designs we were able to develop a "theme" for the wedding. I use the word "theme" very loosely as we are not doing matchy matchy in the least. Just like I tell my clients, I encourage couples to develop a theme so that they stay on track when the planning wheels go astray. For POSH clients, we've used themes that span the length of the spectrum, with my favorite being "texture". Our theme will be "The Tale of Two Cities".

When we sat down to figure out what it was that Mr. Charming and I had a passion for (besides each other of course) what kept popping in our minds were our birthplaces. I am a Die.Hard. New yorker. I breathe congestion and confusion, chaos and hustle and bustle. I love the bright lights, dollar cabs and a good meal at 1:00am. I understand a sandwich is a "hero" not a hoagie and live for clubbing on a weekday. Mr. Charming on the other hand is a total Philadelphian, bless his heart.

When trying to decide on a theme and feeling desperate for options, Le'Trice suggested that we bring in what we love the best. We will be incorporating touches of both cities throughout the reception and the ceremony, while trying not to suffocate people with too much of a good thing.

Our guests first clue to our theme would be the introduction to our event or the save the date.

(LePenn Designs)

The Philadelphia half of the equation was easy to incorporate. We are getting married here and you better believe a cheesesteak, a pretzel and a great cream soda will make an appearance at somepoint during the day.

The New York portion was going to take a little work.

We met up with our phenominal photographers Matt & Angie of Entwined Studios. I seriously love them. Seriously. We scheduled our engagement session in the dead of winter because, #1, there's nothing like New York in the winter and since we're having the wedding in Philadelphia, we had to mirror the season in my home. Number 2, snow+cold= a great excuse for a pair of jeans, lots of snuggling and my beloved Uggs. Here are a few shots from the day:




Awesome right?!

I've also purchased items from some pretty amazing etsy sellers that will be used for decor. I would tell you exactly what for, but my guests read as well so it will have to stay a surprise!

Etsy seller: PullingPetals

Etsy seller: HuntersHideaway

Etsy seller: paperfinger

I've learned alot since embarking on this crazy journey (amidst the busiest wedding season we've ever had). I learned that sometimes, you really just have to get over yourself and out of your way to make it all come together. As Whitley Gilbert would say "relax, relate, release"...and you will be ok.


Happy Anniversary Mr. & Mrs. Gee

Farrah is my kind of girl. Fun, loving and remarkably talented. Her husband is equally as fun and a politician in the state. When you add these two together, the combination is a good kind of scary.

I still can't believe it's been 3 years since we helped this couple plan their remarkable event. The evening ceremony took place on the stairs/landing of the Trenton War Memorial and the bride took her walk to her new groom down a candlelit aisle. After the ceremony, the guests (including some secret service agents, local policitians and nba players) entered the backstage of the Memorial, 4,000 sq feet which we transformed into an intimate all-white lounge atmosphere. Drinks, dessert and dancing took place for hours to follow.

I still remember Farrah's reaction to seeing the room for the first time. We were in transition of changing our name from PureNSimple to POSH and when we opened the doors she hugged me and said "now this is a POSH event!". I never forgot that feeling and the floorplan of Farrah & James' fabulous dessert reception hangs in the studio as a constant reminder to stay "true" to who you are, even when it's outside of the norm.

Congratulations to three years Farrah & James and may you celebrate many, many more!



A POSH Event: Kelly marries Vincent: Part III

We are wrapping up our series on Kelly & Vincent's wedding and I just wanted to share with you some of the lovely details of the day:

Escort Card Display which greeted the guests upon arrival to the reception

Menu Cards crafted by our talented bride Kelly

Centerpieces by Nancy Saam


Candy buffet

Favor Display

And my favorite picture of the day because it really reflects Kelly & Vincent as a couple. Fun, loving and ready to go!

Kelly & Vinny, it was our pleasure assisting on your big day and we shall see you in a few months for the wedding of Katie & JP!


A Planner Plans: Decisions, Decisions

My mother is one of nineteen. My father, the youngest of 5. I easily have 50+ first cousins, 10 of which I spent almost everyday around. My parents love to entertain, (I'm pretty sure that's where my event gene was cultivated). Mr. Charming was an athlete the majority of his life, so is his brother. We are social butterflies times 10.

Slight problem.

My venue, after the inclusion of our 7 piece band and their massive stage, holds 120 MAX. Yes, that's right. One hundred twenty people.

We had a few options, the larger ballroom which was also available that evening, will hold upwards of 600. I've actually assisted with a wedding there with just around that guest count. It was huge! While the space is tempting, having a room that can accommodate 600 people would cause quite the problem. Why? Well, Daddy Petrie is the entertainer of all entertainers. He LOVES to invite people over. Remember the episode of the Cosby show where Theo graduated and Mr. Cosby brought lawn chairs? THAT.IS.MY.LIFE. So, as tempting as it would have been, I knew that opening those gates was one route we would not take. So, smaller ballroom it was.

When Mr. Charming and I first discussed this option we both laughed because the thought of only having 120 people (remember 50+adult first cousins for myself alone)was ludicrous. I've hosted barbeque's with almost that many people. But our wedding is no bbq and we refuse to become the "free" entertainment option for new years eve.

There had to be rules. Tight rules.

So here's how we cut our list (future brides and groom's take note).

1. If we didn't not know your real first & last name and only referred to you by a childhood nickname, you didn't make the cut.
2. If we hadn't seen you physically in 2 years, you didn't make the cut.
3. Adults were only allowed to bring dates if they were married or engaged (exceptions not even for the bridal party as these are people we've known atleast 20 years..more on that to come).
4.No children, or tweens. As a matter of fact, we restricted the age limit to 21 years or older. Even though 70% of our guests are from out of town, we felt our wedding just wasn't child friendly, and retained the services of the Wedding Sitters to watch the littles ones.

With these rules in hand for us, we gave each set of parents 15 invites each and split the remaining 90 (ok I took 50) between us two.

Mission accomplished.

When we first set out on this task, it seemed really far fetched. How do you not offend your great aunt twice removed? Your co-worker from 10 years ago? Your tweeps (twitter peeps) or the 2000 facebook fans who are so excited for your planning? You stay focused. We realized that if we wouldn't normally invite you to a $130 dinner, our wedding was certainly not the time to start-that logic helped alot.

This was the first of many, many difficult decisions to come and we made it through. Alive. A little bruised (not all of our guests were delighted with our choices) but together.

And just in case you forgot internet, this one is for you dad!

Have a great holiday weekend!


A POSH Event-Kelly marries Vincent-Part II

We last left off here...

After the full mass, the couple was off to the venue for pictures. When I say that this couple had a dream team of vendors, they truly did. It was raining during the ceremony. HARD. The rain continued during cocktail hour but neither Mary Quinn or Louis Anthony were the least bit frayed. We were outside, in the rain, umbrellas drawn and at one point we giggled b/c it looked like the paparrazi was in full effect.

The florals at the wedding were in a word stunning. Nancy Saam Floral Design did a great job and they are just the nicest people to work with. Guests grooved to the tunes of Opera3000 and Claudia and her team at Laurel Creek Country Club provided an awesome spread as always. At the end of the night, we opened up the candy buffet and I witnessed, for the first time, an Italian Streamer Dance.

It was truly an amazing night.

And now for some eye candy courtesy of the fabulous Mary Quinn photography:

As the exited the ceremony

Papparazzi Shot (Well worth it I think)

Guest Table

Sweetheart Table

Candy buffet- Designed by my assistant Malakeia

Italian Streamer Dance-Definitely one of my faves

Stay tuned for part III of this series filled with lots of juicy details!