Monthly Archives: January 2011

Organizing Your Wedding Details

Today we’re so honored to host Stacey Agin Murray, a professional organizer who owns Organized Artistry. With the flood of thoughts and to-do lists gushing through your idea factory, it’s difficult to keep your brain organized and orderly. Don’t let your trains of thought collide tracks!! Read on for information that the Yentas are happy to bring you so you can rest easy during your wedding planning days!

You’ve had friends to your home for dinner. Maybe you’ve hosted a Super Bowl party or two. But have you ever planned and coordinated an event for 50-300 guests?

If you haven’t, then welcome to the world of wedding planning.

Caterers, florists, and other wedding-related companies will be banging down your door to get your business. Friends and relatives will offer advice, phone numbers, and web sites for you to check out. How will you juggle the multitudes of research and information from those who want your day to be special? The key to smooth and stress-reducing wedding planning is…

Being Organized
Being organized is the art of having the things you need when you need them whether it is a brochure, a phone number, or a picture of your ultimate bridal bouquet. And no one recognizes the need to be organized more than someone who is planning a wedding. A few organizing techniques you can use to help you plan your wedding are the consistent use of a calendar/PDA and making to-do lists. But what about all of those wedding-related papers you’ve accumulated? Estimates from caterers, song sheets from bands, and all of those pictures you tore out of magazines — how are you supposed to keep them all organized?

The Wedding Binder
The top tool for organized wedding planning is a Wedding Binder. Besides your future spouse, your Wedding Binder will be the closest thing to a best friend you’ll have during your engagement period. The wedding binder is essentially a homefor all wedding-related information. Each topic will have a specific area in the binder allowing for quick referencing and retrieval.

How should you build your wedding binder to work best for you?
The size of your wedding and how many extras you incorporate into your wedding day (ex. ice sculptures, doves) will determine the size of your binder. If you are having a small, simple gathering or you’re not doing much research, you may not need more than a 1″ spine. Large gatherings with many bells and whistles will probably require a binder with upwards of a 3″ spine.

Besides the binder itself, you will need:
• three hole punched, two-sided pocket folders

• extra wide dividers or self adhesive divider tabs for the pocket folders

• three hole punched, zippered pocket for pen/pencils/paper clips (optional)

One, two-sided pocket folder is usually enough room for the paperwork of one vendor. One side of the pocket folder is for ideas and research and the other side is for estimates and contracts. Keeping these different types of information separate will allow you to locate them and retrieve at a moment’s notice.

Examples of some categories for your pocket folders are:
• Catering

• Photography

• Bridal Gown

• Transportation

• Ceremony/Officiant(s)

• Honeymoon

Assemble the pocket folders in order of importance to you. If you are constantly making calls to your caterer, place that folder towards the front of the binder. Already know what favors you want to give out? Place that folder towards the back.

What other information can be stored in your wedding binder?
• Guest lists/gift lists

• E-mail/phone list of bridal party members

• Seating charts

• A print-out of your registry

Benefits to using a wedding binder
• Money-saving benefit: You’re always prepared when a vendor wants to talk about price. If someone quotes you a price in writing and you can’t produce the paper it’s written on, they could try to charge you more money for their services.

• Time-saving benefit: Since all of your information has a home, you won’t be wasting your time printing duplicate information off the internet or repeatedly asking for the addresses of your guests.

• Sanity-saving benefit: All of your wedding information is in one place. No need to take apart your living room looking for what you need.

Tips for keeping an organized wedding binder:
• Label the pocket folders clearly

• Place new papers/information in the correct pocket of your binder as soon as you receive them.

• Sort and purge your binder once a month. Toss any information that is no longer relevant in the trash or in a folder for a friend or relative who may need it in the future.

Always bring your wedding binder with you when meeting with your vendors. You’ll have all the information you need to compare prices and make educated decisions. You will be organized, prepared and in control of your special day.

Stacey Agin Murray, owner of Organized Artistry, LLC is a Professional Organizer in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Stacey offers residential organizing services from attic to basement and every space in between. She is the author of 7 Steps to an Organized Wedding Thank You Note, a quick-reference guide for the overwhelmed bride. To learn more about getting organized go to Visit Stacey’s blog or Facebook Fan Page. Stacey is a member of National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), Golden Circle Member of NAPO, active in the NAPO-Northern New Jersey Chapter, and a member of New Jersey Association of Women’s Business Owners (NJAWBO) – Bergen County Chapter

Friday Favorites | Living Art

Looking at flowers and considering different arrangements are fun parts of the wedding planning process. When I was planning my wedding, I learned so much about species of flowers I’d never even heard of and suddenly felt very knowledgeable that I now have a new appreciation for such beautiful living things.

But these living things are now at a whole new level. A friend of The Wedding Yentas and Los Angeles flower artist, Alison Franchi of Le Petit Gardenia has co-created a new concept in floral arrangements that merges art and blooms. But Alison is not shopping around for complementing pots and vases, no, no, no. She’s arranging her flowers on people.


If you’re a flower junkie and in the Los Angeles area, you should definitely check out this one-night event that will have you rethinking your wedding blooms. Well, maybe you won’t stack flower-wrapped people on your reception tables or chuppah, but this whimsical and magical take on — literally, living art — will inspire you and open your eyes to a whole new medium of decor.

The Human Vase is an original concept created by Living Art in which a live model is adorned with layers of body paint, jewels, and a brilliant display of perfectly manipulated flowers. The result is a spectacular marriage of floral design and fine art on a human canvas. As pioneers in this field, The Human Vase is a ground-breaking approach to art and event decor for 2011.

This intricate process takes an average of 12 hours to create, and each Human Vase is aesthetically unique down to the smallest detail. For this upcoming exhibition, four models will be transformed into characters of different cultures, historical times, and fictional works while paying homage to the artists’ personal journeys and love of travel. The Human Vase epitomizes the idea of living, breathing art.

Living Art is the professional collaboration of make-up artist effects by Jennifer Aspinall and floral design by Alison.

You can feast your eyes on The Human Vase this Saturday, January 29th from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Thomas Paul Fine Art
7270 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA


Inspiration Board: Engagement Parties

It’s your engagement party! Go crazy…with color! Your engagement party is your big coming out event with your new fiance and you should be the center of attention. We don’t necessarily suggest you come down a grand staircase wearing a huge sparkly ball gown because, well, that’s only reserved for Scarlett. But, why not a chic, gorgeous teal dress and super hot heels? Yes, that’s more like it.

We’re diggin’ the teal/turquoise palette and foresee a burst of this hue in this season’s weddings. This inspiration board is the perfect engagement party color scheme because it’s easy to incorporate with a lot of other colors. It works for subtlety, but also makes a statement if that’s what you choose.

Sprinkle some teal into your invitations, party favors, your outfit, desserts, and even table linens. You choose how much or how little you want to use. Just know, this vibrant shade can be dropped into pretty much any element of your engagement party.

Your engagement party should be fun, and even if it’s a very formal event, you can use color to reflect your personalities and taste. But more than anything, it’s all about looooove and we loooooove that you’re getting married!!


  • Cody M. Browning says:

    A favor like a cup or glass can be used after the party is long over.Greet your guests as they arrive. Things like handcuffs a ball and chain rolling pin and an apron with the future husbands name on it can add a little humor to your party.

Engage In A Party!

You’re engaged! Time to celebrate!

Most couples enjoy an engagement party to honor the upcoming nuptials sometime in the first few months of the popped — and accepted! — question. But what happens when it’s actually time to start planning an engagement party? What are some key points to think about and how the feezy does it differ from planning the actual wedding? Yentas, as usual, are here to help!

When should I have my engagement party?
Plan on celebrating your engagement soon after that ring is slipped on your finger. The exact timing, though, is all relative compared to your approximate wedding date. Ideally, you want to space out your engagement party from your wedding so that there isn’t too much of you two. With all due respect, as awesome as you and your partner are, an engagement party in one month and a wedding two months later is just a little… much. Most engagements are about a year to 18 months long. Consider holding the engagement party about a year from the wedding, if possible. If you haven’t solidified your wedding date yet, that’s okay. It’s likely you have a month, or at least the season, in mind. Start there and work about a year back. That said, you don’t need to have an engagement party before you can even finish answering yes to become a Mrs. It’s okay to go ahead and enjoy your new title as fiance before diving into engagement party plans. Take a couple months to soak it in, stare at your ring, share the news, stare at your ring, daydream about your dress, stare at your ring, and make a guest list.

Oh yeah, so regarding the guest list, who do we invite to the engagement party?
The absolute #1 rule of your engagement party: whoever you invite to the E-Party, must also be invited to the wedding. That means you better be sure that the engagement party peeps are going to be sticking around in your life for a long enough time that a year later, you’ll still be close and want them at your most special event. Really, though, if you invite all the people to your engagement party who are also invited to your wedding, you may as well have your rabbi and a chuppah on hand and just tie the knot at the engagement party! We suggest you keep your engagement party smaller than your wedding day. The stress, expense, and build-up to the wedding day does not need to be duplicated. Therefore, send invitations to your immediate family, bridal party, and close friends. Most likely, you’ll only want to invite 30 to 40% of your wedding guest list. Keeping it intimate, yet festive, is the way to go.

What kind of venue works for hosting an engagement party?
As long as you have an open space that allows for schmoozing, you can hold your engagement party anywhere. Parties can be at private homes, restaurants, country clubs, or even parks. Just make sure you have a private area so that you can enjoy conversation and kibbitzing.

What about decor and entertainment? How far do I go there?
Remember, you don’t want to give away all your goods at your engagement party. If you go to the same extent as your wedding, you’ll have no surprises up your sleeve for the day that truly matters! So, decor can be simple flowers or candles. You could probably take on the craft of arranging flowers yourself in Mason jars or vases. Candles on tables and open areas add a dramatic and beautiful look, while keeping costs and resources down. You can also reuse the candles on your wedding day if they’re not burnt too far down. As for entertainment, a mix or Pandora station that fits your party theme can absolutely suffice for entertainment. Since typically there is no dancing at an engagement party, mood and ambiance music is what counts. Save your bucks for the live music at your wedding reception. If you really want an element of live music, enlist a friend or college music major play some acoustic guitar or keyboard to set a more formal engagement party mood.

If I’m throwing the party at home, should I hire a catering company or just serve chips and salsa?
We think coordinating something in between a sit-down dinner and a cheese plate is probably acceptable. Depending on your budget and party space, heavy appetizers or a buffet can be acceptable and common offering for munchies. Pick a theme — Mexican, Italian, gourmet salads, BBQ — and run with it. Tray passed appetizers or a few tables with heated servers will suffice. You can even choose to do a desserts-only party and offer a slew of sweets from a cake to cookies and in between. Anything beyond that is, no pun intended, gravy. And as for booze, it’s up to you! You can hire a bar service or set up a cooler, but you can range from just wine and beer to heavier drinks. Either way, you’ve got to have a champagne toast!

So get your invitations ready (and, speaking of which, for more casual affairs like engagement parties, it’s acceptable to send online invitations or snail mail invitations), pick out a cute dress, and get ready to pose for the camera and show off your new bling! Your engagement party is a wonderful “first” during your wedding-planning experience. It’s like the opening ceremonies to the start of your wedding Olympics, sans any competitions because, after all, you already scored the gold when you found your love!

The photos above are from Anna and Sam’s engagement party brunch in Santa Monica, California. They worked hard to create an intimate party with personal touches including family wedding photos, speeches and gifts to their parents, and Mason jar floral arrangements that reminded Anna of her childhood.

Mazel tov, Anna and Sam, and may you have a wonderful wedding-planning experience!

Photos courtesy of Iconica Photography, Peter Garabetian
Venue: La Vecchia Cucina — Santa Monica, CA

  • Anna says:

    Thank you again Alison for featuring our party! We are honored and flattered!

  • Rachel says:

    Such a small Jewish world! Anna and my husband, Tim, went to law school together in San Diego. I love how friends are constantly pooping up on the Wedding Yentas. Mazel tov, Anna! Tim and I are so happy for you!

Real Engagements | Malibu, CA

Working for, the first question Jessica gets asked about how she met Eric is, “Did you meet on JDate?” The answer is “No, we met the other way Jews meet… summer camp!” Both Eric and Jessica grew up going to Jewish summer camp, but she was in Los Angeles and he was in New York. But they both can thank Jessica’s childhood summer camp for bringing them together in adulthood. Jessica was a camper and counselor at Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu, California from 1998 until 2005. While Jessica spent her summers at the beach with her fellow campers, Eric was doing the same by a lake at Eisner Camp in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. It wasn’t until 2008 that Eric moved out to Los Angeles to be the Assistant Director of Jessica’s summer camp. By way of Jewish geography (and Jessica’s friends who still worked at Camp Hess Kramer), Eric and Jessica “officially” met at a bar on a Thursday night in 2009. (It is important to note that they were Facebook friends months prior to meeting because, really, how else do you get to know someone?!). A year later, they became engaged and are now set to get married August 27th, 2011 at Cicada in downtown Los Angeles.

Their engagement pictures were taken at the place that brought them together and holds a very special place in their hearts, Camp Hess Kramer. They chose camp because they feel a very strong Jewish connection there and they can’t get enough of that scenery! After all, camp has allowed Jessica and Eric to cross paths and find the love of their lives.

Photographer – Marianne Wilson









  • Merryl Lynn says:

    I am the very HAPPY GRANDMA! Eric, is the brightest light in our family menorah! In one photo, my favorite, he has a sort of: Charlie Chaplin, expression and I love it!