Photo Credits: Artz Photo, Jeff Kolodny Photography, Munoz Photography, Bill Peck Photography

Check out the Joie de Vie Weddings & Events Blog for helpful articles and ideas for your event. See and learn more about our featured venues and our past and upcoming events. We invite you to bookmark this page and visit it often, so you can get the tips, guidance, decor examples, and all the other elements that will make your event an unforgettable one!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wedding Professional Wednesday: Rose Robinson with The Invitation Lounge

Our featured professional for our Wedding Professional Wednesday Series is a phenomenal young woman I met when I first became a member of the Association of Bridal Consultants. Rose Robinson with The Invitation Lounge gives stationery that unique touch that makes it EXTRAORDINARY. I am a true lover of paper and I was truly amazed when I got a chance to flip through her portfolio. She thinks outside the box and gives your guests something to look forward to when they open up your wedding Save-the-date or Invitation. I am happy to feature Rose Robinson as our Wedding Professional. She is witty, hilarious, creative and a true professional. I hope this feature gives you a little insight on Rose:

Name: Rose Robinson

Name of your Company: The Invitation Lounge

Location: Orlando, FL & soon to open: Boston, MA

Number of Years in Business: 5


Blog Address:

Tell us a little about your business and the services you offer:
I offer custom designed invitations, programs, menus, etc. to fit their theme and colors of your event. As an extension of my service, I also offer RSVP and seating arrangement service.

How did you get started? I ordered invitations for brides for another Orlando wedding planner. When I was planning my wedding, I created my programs and added an additional touch to my winter wonderland invitations that were mailed in boxes. I received rave reviews and decided to provide invitation design to brides in addition to the popular invitation company lines that I carried.

What professional organizations or networking are you a member of? Association of Bridal Consultants

Furthest place and/or interesting place you’ve travelled to while working on a wedding assignment? I travelled to Boston to create Menus and programs at the last minute.

What are a few suggestions you would make to couples as they are selecting a professional in your service are for their special day? Invitations and/or Save the Dates are the gateway to your event and should depict it’s style. Do not take for granted that people will “throw” away your invite or that invitations cost too much money. If you want to dictate what your guests will expect and how you want them to dress, the invitation is very important.

What are the trends and innovations in your service area?
Pockets, Pockets, Pockets! Bride and grooms like the neatness of pocketed invitations. The popular colors are fuchsia and lime green, pink and brown and blue and brown.

What are your three favorite blogs besides the Joie de Vie blog? and of course mine!

If you weren't a working in this industry, what field would you be in instead? Why?
Probably in acting! I love writing plays and reading books.

Favorite Reality Show?
There is so many, where do I start?

What show do you Tivo/DVR?
Get Married, Whose Wedding is it Anyway?, Smallville, and Making the Band.

Your special event is as unique as you would like it to be. Stationery is a special touch that when executed properly will cause your guests to look forward to your day with greater anticipation. Contact Rose for an opportunity to set the tone with beautiful papers.

Until next time,

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why are Professional Photographers so expensive? Part III (A repost from another blog)

This blog post will be the final post in our three-part series that we have had on the Joie de Vie Weddings & Events blog that looks at various reason why you NEED a professional to handle certain aspects/details for your special event. I am always one to say that once the day is over what do you have left? Your photos and your video. They are the two elements that help keep the memory of your special event alive. To me the decision on who captures that memory is VERY important. This is a blog post that was featured on a Shawn Richters' Blog (Caught On Film Photography). Shawn is a photographer in California and his insight in this post is phenomenal! I've included the entire post here, but you can click here to be redirected to the company website.

In this digital age where everyone has digital cameras, scanners and home "photo printers", when people upload their photos to a local drug store website and pick them up a few hours later, we hear this all the time - How in the world do Professional Photographers charge $55 for an 8x10 when they cost just $1.50 at the drug store?

Here's why:

Simply put, you're not just paying for the actual photograph, you're paying for time and expertise. First, let's look at the actual time involved. If you don't read this entire page, at least read this first part.

For a two hour portrait session:
- one hour of travel to and from the session- two hours of shooting- 30 minutes of setup, preparation, talking to the client etc.- 30 minutes to load the photos onto a computer (2 - 4 Gb of data)- 30 minutes to back up the files on an external drive- 3 - 4 hours of Photoshop time including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, saving a copy for print and a copy for the internet and backing up the edited photographs - 2 - 3 hours to talk to the client, answer questions, receive their order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints, schedule shipment and drop package off at Fed Ex.- For local customers, we also print a set of all of their photos, and meet them at our studio to review the photos and place their order. Meeting and travel time averages 2 hours.

You can see how one two hour session easily turns into more than ten hours of work from start to finish. So when you see a Photographer charging a $200 session fee for a two hour photo shoot, you are not paying them $100 / hour.

For an eight hour wedding:
- I won't bore you with the details, but an eight hour wedding typically amounts to at least two to three full 40 hour work weeks worth of time. Again, if they are charging you $4,000 for an eight hour wedding, you are not paying them $500 / hour.
Now for the expertise.
Shooting professional photography is a skill, acquired through years of experience. Even though a quality camera now costs under $2,000 taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera.
Most Professional Photographers take years to go from buying their first decent camera to making money with their photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera itself, there is a mountain of other equipment involved, as well as numerous software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website etc.
And let's not forget that you actually have to have people skills, be able to communicate, make people comfortable in front of the camera - and posing people to make them look their best in a photograph is a skill all by itself.

Think of it this way - the next time you pay $X to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only costs $1.50. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional.
What about the cheap studios at the mall?

Please don't compare us to the chain store studios. But if you must, consider all of the time and work that we put into our photographs, compared to what they do. Good luck getting a two hour photo shoot at a chain store. Not to mention they won't come to the beach! And of course, look at our work compared to theirs. You get what you pay for.

The truth is, most of the mall and chain store studios lose money. In fact, in 2007 Wal-Mart
closed 500 of their portrait studios because of the financial drain they were putting on the company. What the chain stores bet on is that you'll come in for some quick and cheap photos, and while you're there, you'll also spend $200 on other things. They don't have to make money, they are just there to get you in the door.

We hope that those who have taken the time to read this page will have a better understanding of why professional photographs cost so much more than the ones that you get from your local drug store.

At the end of the day, your event is too special of a moment to leave in the hands of anyone. There are no 'do -overs' so make sure it is done right! Just as we spend countless hours behind the scenes and with you to plan your day, all of your vendors prepare for your day as well. That preparation varies with educating ourselves to bring you nothing but the best in services, products and ideas as well as the overall management of your day.

I hope this helps you as you look at the various options for your special day!

Until next time,

* A special thank you to Marcia Mauskopf for sending me the original blog post to read.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wedding Planning Break: A weekly date night with your fiance!

We love helping our brides plan their weddings. Like many event planners, wedding planners or bridal consultants, it truly is an honor to be a part of the wedding planning process. When we first sit with our couples at Joie de Vie Weddings & Events, we always stress to them the importance of making the planning process and enjoyable one where they are building the foundation of their relationship. Often times that means taking a mental break from the wedding planning. No discussions of guest lists, colors, the budget or the minutia of the day.

If I could give one piece of advice, it is this: Take the time to plan some fun things during your engagement process. Of course you and your fiance have always been fun individuals, you are the life of the party and you certainly do not need me to provide you with tips on how to be romantic. What I want to remind you is to remember the elements that have kept the flame in your hearts. I would suggest once a week or once every other week where you have a "NO WEDDING TALK" date!

Now you know what your likes and dislikes are! here a 5 little things you can do to kick start your "US TIME":
  1. Go down to your favorite lakefront park and just take a walk. Take a walk, holding hands the entire time and just take a moment to breathe. Pack a picnic lunch, snack or wine and cheese (if you don't care to cook - pick up a few items at your favorite gourmet store) and set that out for the two of you to just enjoy. This would be great during a late afternoon or right before sunset.

  2. Take a day to go to a local amusement park (i.e. Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Six Flags or Busch Gardens). Be a big kid and scream your lungs out on the rides (great de-stresser too!).

  3. If the budget is not too tight -- have a couples spa day. Let someone pamper you with a couples massage. If the budget is tight, turn it into a home spa night. Some great candles, soft music and treat your fiance to a great mani/pedi followed by a wonderful massage.

  4. If your fiance is a video game fanatic, take some time to learn his/her favorite game and play. This could be a tournament of sorts with your own rules and you get to come up with the prizes (allows some room for creativity).

  5. Go out for a nice romantic dinner. Get dressed up, have a nice dinner at a venue that has some great live jazz, soul or soothing music that will allow you to talk to one another throughout the evening. If the budget is tight, cook a simple romantic candle lit dinner together and have a nice evening at home.

We have a few more suggestions, but we will leave that for another time!

Until next time,


Monday, April 6, 2009

Wedding PSA: Sandals Is Offering 50-60% Off At All Resorts!

Of course this is a LIMITED time offer! Sandals is a complete LUXURY included experience that a few of my brides have taken advantage of. Well just when I thought I've seen it all from Sandals...they've topped it. Imagine your honeymoon at 50-60% off. Butler Category rooms included. If you are wondering what a Butler Category room is, check out their website. Now, do you understand why this is considered a Public Service Announcement?!?! After all, most of the Sandals resorts have been named in the top 25 All Inclusive Resorts World Wide. The sale ends this Thursday.

Sandals best describes their luxurious Honeymoon options:

No other resorts in the world are so completely dedicated to couples in love. That's why a Sandals honeymoon is the kind of honeymoon you dream about. And only Sandals offers the ultimate luxurious accommodations, the Caribbean's best land and watersports -- from golf to scuba, and an array of gourmet dining options. The best's all included. So leave your worries and wallet behind and spend your honeymoon dedicated to each other.

Upon arrival, bottle of chilled sparkling wine elegantly arranged on ice bucket.
On first night, turndown service will include flower petals on your bed.
On one morning, you'll receive a breakfast in bed served with fresh flowers.

Now of course this is not just limited to honeymoons, to all of you romantics out there why not schedule a romantic getaway or a second/third honeymoon. Take the LUXURIOUS all inclusive option and make it a memory that will last a lifetime.

If you think you will need our assistance, give our office a call. Because of our affiliation with the Association of Bridal Consultants, we are able to offer our VIP Sandals Concierge Service to you.

Give us a call for details,


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wedding Professional Wednesday: Brandi Zrallack with The Perfect Wedding Guide & Central Florida Bride Magazine

The Central Florida Wedding Community is a growing one. We have seen many great professionals come into the area over the years and many have made great contributions to its growth. One professional is Brandi Zrallack. I first met Brandi when she still owned her Events Planning firm. At that point I was told that her and her mother planned the best wedding shows in town. Brandi took over as the Marketing Manger for the Perfect Wedding Guide and the Managing Editor for Central Florida Bride nearly two years ago. I can truly say this: She has taken both publications to another level. Hands down Brandi and her team have made both publications a must have in a brides arsenal as she is planning her special day. With pleasure I am featuring Brandi as our Wedding Professional for our Wedding Professional Wednesday Series. Brandi is a true professional and can throw a darn good party too. Hopefully this gives you a little insight into Brandi Zrallack, our Central Florida Wedding Professional:
Name: Brandi Zrallack

Name of your Company: Perfect Wedding Guide and Central Florida Bride

Location: Lake Mary, Florida

Number of Years in Business: PWG and CFB have been in business for over 17 years and I have been on board for 20 months.

Website: and

Blog Address: Uh-Oh. I don’t blog…I email.

Tell us a little about your business and the services you offer: We are the nation’s #1 local resource for connecting brides to businesses. We offer 2 different publications that educate and inform brides while providing them with opportunities to find vendors that they can hire for their weddings. We also produce Orlando’s largest bridal shows and favorite place to network for wedding professionals.

How did you get started in the Wedding Industry? I began a wedding planning company in 2000. When I sold my company in 2007, I was doing approximately 70 weddings a year.
What professional organizations or networking are you a member of? We are members of NACE, WPCF (Wedding Professionals of Central Florida), WOBA (West Orange Bridal Association), ABC (Association of Bridal Consultants) and we’re looking forward to joining ISES soon.

Any industry awards or recognition? I’ve received a Commitment to Excellence Award from WPCF as has Perfect Wedding Guide. The Orlando market of Perfect Wedding Guide was “Franchise of the Year” in 2007.
Furthest place and/or interesting place you’ve travelled to while working on a wedding assignment? I’m getting ready to go to Vegas for our annual conference in April. As a wedding planner, I didn’t go, but two of our planners traveled to Canada for a wedding. That was exciting!

What are a few suggestions you would make to couples as they are selecting a wedding professional for their wedding?
• Be sure the vendor is a member of an organization
• Be sure to get everything in writing when contracting a vendor
• Shop around and meet with 2-3 vendors in each category. Don’t jump at the first meeting.
• Ask for references

What are a few trends and innovations you have seen in the industry?
• Video has come so far and I am a huge advocate for brides having video at their weddings. Who wouldn’t want to relive every single moment?
• Lighting has become a necessity rather than a luxury. The transformations made by lighting have been unparalleled.
• I love the live entertainment that has been evolving lately. Bringing the guests in for a unique experience…there’s nothing better!

Both the Central Florida Bride and Perfect Wedding Guide have featured local weddings. What are some pointers you would give the bride if they are interested in having their wedding featured?
• We look for brides with unique touches to their weddings.
• We look for brides that have used Central Florida Bride (and Perfect Wedding Guide) advertisers.
• A bride should have a CFB advertiser (one of her vendors) submit the wedding for her.
• We try to include most of the weddings we receive…just be sure to use advertisers, advertisers, advertisers!

What are your three favorite blogs besides the Joie de Vie blog? I don’t have a lot of time to read blogs, unfortunately. I do enjoy Joie de Vie as often as possible, but otherwise, I’m not much of a blogger.

Until next time,