Laura Miller Design | Plan Like A Pro

Inspired by the natural beauty and warmth of Northern California, Laura Miller of Laura Miller Design creates magical weddings. Designing for over 20 years, Laura’s true passion for design is evident in her beautiful work.  We’re delighted that she stopped by our blog to share some of her favorites with us. Enjoy!

What’s the most unique wedding you’ve planned?
The most unique wedding was one from summer 2015. Although it was not unique in overall style, the vibrant pallet is something that I’m  rarely asked to do. I love adding color when it comes to a celebration, it seems to fit. I loved that Victoria chose two different print toned dresses for her bridesmaids. She also let me truly take the reins and go for it.

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What’s popular in bouquets right now?
Brighter tones and texture

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What’s a recent wedding that really stands out in your mind?
I worked with the bride and her Mother in creating a romantic feel for this wedding. I got to use family vintage pieces as the centerpiece vessels. Additional candles and lace were incorporated into the soft romantic color palette. The couple had been planning for several years prior to the wedding, as the groom had been deployed after they got engaged postponing the wedding. It truly meant so much for me to be a part of this event. Their love was so vivid that day, and when I received the images months later I was reaffirmed of what I’d witnessed prior.

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Photos: Coco Tran Photography, Jasmine Lee Photography
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Plan Like A Pro | Kate Whelan Events

Kate Whelan Events

Kate Whelan and her team at Kate Whelan Events craft impeccable weddings that are flawlessly executed.  Their goal is to ensure the couple’s style emanates from every perfectly planned detail so that each event is distinctive and unforgettable.  Credentials like this are why Kate Whelan Events has received a reader’s choice award for 5 years in a row.  And why they can plan (stunning!) weddings like her favorite below, in less than 2 months.

We’re excited to share Kate’s ideas and tips today. Prepare to be inspired!


What’s one of your favorite weddings and why is it so memorable for you?
We planned a wedding for Brianne and Kyriakos in just shy of two months. They didn’t even have a venue yet – so we had to take an existing space and build it. With a wedding in March, an inclement weather plan is a must-have in Northern California, so we built a custom tent that took three weeks to install. The subfloor had to accommodate protection of an existing sculpture on the property and two giant trees poked through the top of the tent. It was an adventure – and we’re so happy we were able to execute Brianne’s vision of a classic, elegant, all-white wedding in such an extraordinary little amount of time.

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Photos: Sarah Maren Photography

What new and fun trends are you seeing for 2016?
Mixed seating has been quite a popular request – our clients want a mix of exposed wood tables, tables with linens, as well as banquettes and upholstered furniture for guest seating.

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Photos:Alexander Rubin Photography

Layered tabletops are quite popular now – even if the plates are not used in service, clients are loving the mixture of different china materials, glassware colors and flatware accents.

Plan Like A Pro |Kate Whelan Events
Photo:Eleakis & Elder
Photo: Sarah Maren Photography

Earthy and natural elements are being introduced in an elegant way. Many of my clients love the outdoors and want to incorporate their love of all things organic, but also want an elegant affair.

Photo: Sarah Maren Photography

How can a couple really personalize their reception and make it their own?
Find activities that both you and your soon-to-be spouse enjoy together and make ways for your guests to experience them as a part of the event. If you love playing lawn games in your spare time, bring a set for guests to enjoy during the cocktail hour. Love craft beer? Try passing a pretzel and mini-taster combo as an appetizer. Infusing your personal tastes and activities into the reception tells your story as a couple beyond a simple color palette. If you love to paint or love art, make mini painting favors.

Photo: Sarah Maren Photography

What’s your best advice for saving on wedding expenses….without looking like you did?
Find a venue that sets the tone you are looking for before you even bring in any decor – it will take any investment even further, as it will look like an extension of your event design. Work with complimentary color palettes and don’t fight the existing design.

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Photo: Sarah Maren Photography

Want more inspiration from Kate?  You’ll find her blog here.

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Plan Like A Pro | Lauren Fox From Fox Events

Plan Like A Pro | Lauren Fox, Fox Events

Lauren Fox, Fox EventsWe’re enamoured with Fox Events.  Their style is the perfect mix of sophistication and freshness.  We love how  they infuse a couple’s personality into the weddings they create, making each one unique and and meaningful.  Lead planner Lauren Fox has been crafting inspiring weddings for nearly 10 years.  First as part of a larger Charleston event planning company and then on her own with Fox Events since 2013.  We think you’ll agree, Lauren Fox has great style.  And if you’re planning your Big Day, you’ll want to read the thoughts she shared with us here.

What’s one of your favorite weddings that you’ve planned and why?
We did a wedding for Colleen and Nick Brice at the Ocean Course in Kiawah Island. Colleen & Nick are native New Yorkers with a love for the South. They chose the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island for its stunning backdrop and ease of accommodations for all of their guests.  Colleen wanted to mix her “New York” style with Southern tradition so we used farm tables and x-back chairs to fulfill the rustic, Southern vibe and shades of blue and green with metallic décor to add a modern touch.  Northern elements met Southern tradition and it turned out perfectly.  It was a special day because we overcame weather, transformed their wishes into reality, and gave them an incredible wedding to celebrate with friends and family.

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What new and fun trends are you seeing for 2016?

Greenery!–This is very quickly becoming what Fox Events specializes in.  We love greening ceilings, chandeliers, mantles, and tablescapes any chance we get.

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Metallic colors—we are big fans of using metallics for our linens, votives, vases, and signage.  It adds the perfect amount of sparkle and glam without being to over the top.

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Eucalyptus—this goes along with our love for greenery, but we also love to mix it in with the bride’s bouquet.

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Foil-stamped stationary suite—we use gold foil in our logo so we are thrilled when the bride and groom love it just as much as we do.


 How can a couple really personalize their reception and make it their own?

We have a lot of couples who love to personalize cocktail napkins, menu cards, dinner napkins, decorate with photos around the room, and even create a signature cocktail featuring their drink of choice.  In terms of the actual reception space, every couple has a style or vibe and its important to choose a color palate, flowers, furniture, music, etc. to represent that.

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What’s your best advice for saving on wedding expenses….without looking like you did?

Our advice is to spend money where it counts.  Spend the extra dollar on linens when having a seated dinner, spend more on the band when you know your guests will dance the night away, pay for the open bar if your friends will use it!  Make smart decisions when planning your night and your guests will be wowed from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave.

Plan Like A Pro | Lauren Fox, Fox Events

Find more goodness from Fox Events here.


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Plan Like A Pro | Chanda Monique Daniels, A Monique Affair

Chanda Daniels | A Monique Affair
Since 1999, Chanda Monique Daniels, and A Monique Affair have been creating weddings with style and imagination.  Skilled at helping clients define their vision and then executing it perfectly, the team at A Monique Affair create events that are personal and warm. Want some insight into planning like Chanda?  We’re happy that she’s shared her thoughts with us here.

What’s one of the most favorite weddings you’ve planned?
When a couple has children from a previous relationship, and they decide to get married, it can be a sensitive situation. My favorite wedding involves a couple that blended their families and chose to incorporate the blending into their marriage ceremony.

The couple in this case each had children from previous relationships. During the ceremony each member of the newly formed family joined in on the sand ceremony to create a beautiful pattern of colors.

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However, the best part was when the bride and the children surprised the groom with a flash mob dance at the reception, this couple had pizzazz. I will never forget how fun they were and I’m sure the guests will always remember their wedding.

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Photos:  Natarsha Wright Photography

What fun trends are you seeing for 2016?
In 2016, I think we’ll see a bigger presence of food trucks, or food-truck-type experiences from caterers. I am also finding that a lot of couples are choosing to host unplugged weddings. This means couples are asking guests to leave their cell phones behind and offering unique ways of doing so by creating charge stations or a cell phone check in (like a coat check) to offer safe keeping for phones until the end of the celebration. We’ll also probably see more “party” type receptions making good use of the late night snack option. It’s fun and delicious.

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Photos: Melanie Duerkopp Photography

How can a couple really personalize their reception and make it their own?
I always tell couples struggling to find their wedding style to stay true to who they are and that’s as simple as sticking to what they like.  I find that when couples are confused about their wedding style, they immediately think they want to go the vintage route because it’s pretty and popular on Pinterest. To couples in that predicament, I advise they look around their house and see whether they have vintage items lying around, if the answer is no, then why try to force it? I really loved how one particular couple I worked with chose to plan a wedding around their love for picnics. For their wedding we created a picnic reception complete with food trucks, photo bus, blankets, baskets and even lawn games, but it wasn’t your plain old picnic, we added a whole lot of glam. It was gorgeous.

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Photos: Melanie Duerkopp Photography

What’s your best advice for saving on wedding expenses….without looking like you did?
Budgeting is the most common concern when it comes to weddings. However the most tasteful way to work with a sensitive budget is to focus on one item to splurge on. Be it exotic flowers, really good catering or top shelf decorations, then look for creative ways to supplement in the other areas where it doesn’t appear so obvious. There are a lot of options on the internet that can help with this situation. I keep thinking about one bride I worked with that loved bacon and really wanted to spring for a bacon bar at the reception. It was very unique and memorable.

A Monique Affair

Photo:Rachel Capil Photography
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