Archives for October 2016

Wedding Welcome Bags: 5 Tips for Making Guests Feel at Home (and Ready to Party!)

Hi lovelies, and happy Thursday!

One of the most amazing things about a wedding is that it can bring family and friends together from all over, near and far. It’s traditional wedding etiquette for wedding guests who are coming from out of town or destination wedding attendees to receive some form of a welcome gift. More likely than not, you won’t be able to meet all your guests as they arrive in town for your wedding, so a goodie bag is a perfect way to say, “Hello there, we’re so glad you made it!” A well-done welcome bag is useful, thoughtful, and memorable. From snacks and sweets to the schedule of events, each element inside is meant to make your guests feel at home and totally psyched for the days ahead. And the best part is, no matter where you fall on the spectrum of price and budget, you can curate a fabulously fun and unique little welcome! Here are our 5 tips for putting together the perfect wedding welcome bags!

Left: Corbin Gurkin Photography, Right: Allan Zepeda Photography

1. Local Loves

What better way to make your guests feel welcomed than by giving them a taste of where they will be spending the upcoming days? Welcome out-of-town friends and family with some local favorites. Think California wine, Hawaiian macadamia nuts, fresh Florida oranges, Wisconsin cheese, or a Paris baguette! This will just get guests feeling comfortable and excited to explore the new scene!

beautiful-day-photographyPhoto Credit: Beautiful Day Photography

2. Guest FYI’s

A definite item to include is the where-and-when’s guests should know about! Make a little timeline of the wedding events, and include all information needed for each. Clear directions, contact info, and dress code will always be appreciated! And if you know out-of-towners will be arriving a bit before festivities commence, include information on places to go, things to see, shopping areas, and good eats!

Left: James Christianson, Right: Marisa Holmes Photography

3. The Survival Kit

Wedding weekends away are nonstop fun, but too much fun can get plenty exhausting! When guests have the hankering for a late night snack, they will be beyond ecstatic to grab munchies from their welcome bag! Be sure to include something sweet, something salty, water bottles, maybe some fruit, and something to take the edge off. You want to give your guests an option other than the hotel minibar when that midnight craving hits!

Left: Love is A Big Deal, Right: KT Merry

4. Make It Your Own

Because a welcome bag will most likely be greeting guests upon arrival, it serves as that first exposure to the vibe of your series of wedding events. That being said, it should have your look! Make it to reflect the colors, styles, and details you’ve been implementing into your wedding day over the past months.

resized-for-blog-5Left: Tie That Binds Weddings, Right: Corbin Gurkin Photography

5. Special Delivery!

Now that you’ve put together an amazing welcome bag, figure out the delivery logistics. If you’re jet-setting to a destination wedding, shipping is going to be the easiest option. If you will be self-transporting the bags, great! Either way, just be sure they are secure and cushioned. When you arrive at the location, distribute bags to the guests’ accommodations. Welcome bags can either be given to guests upon check-in, or be waiting in their rooms. Most hotels will charge a fee for both services, so be sure to find out what that might look like. We think having a surprise welcome inside guest rooms is the most fun option!

Left: Max Wanger, Right: Corbin Gurkin Photography

Deciding what exactly to put in your welcome bags in a world of choices might seem overwhelming, but it’s truly just a matter of setting up your guests with the essentials! Focus on the basics (food, drink, information, and a little fun), and your guests will be sent swooning with sweet surprise!

devon-jarvisPhoto Credit: Devon Jarvis Photography

In Memoriam: Honoring Lost Loved Ones At Your Wedding

Weddings are a time for friends and family to gather together and celebrate. Nothing could be as wonderful as having each and every loved one standing beside you during this time. Unfortunately, sometimes loved ones can only be present in spirit due to death or distance. One of our own Marisa Nicole Events team members just lost someone very dear to her, so our passed loved ones are close to our hearts right now. There are so many options in how you can pay a special homage to those who are no longer with us on your wedding day. Today we’re sharing ideas with you on how to do just that.


Initial Thoughts

The first thing to consider when working out how to best give a nod to your loved one at your wedding is to think about are how much attention you want to draw, how long it has been since the passing, and what the person would truly appreciate in a special, personal way if he or she was there to see it. There are more visible and more subtle ways to include passed loved ones, and in order to do right by these special people, keep in mind whether they liked to be the center of attention, or they prefered to stay more low key.

resized-for-blog_-4Left: Studio EMP, Right: Andie Freeman Photography

Program Mention

The simplest and probably most traditional way to include a loved one is to mention them in your wedding program. Guests will be able to see the name on paper, as a formal visual memorial. And, if you have multiple people to mention, this can be a perfectly orderly way to honor them all.

cocktails-detailsPhoto Credit: Cocktails & Details

The Photo Table

An eye catching and quite aesthetically pleasing way to give a visual display of lost loved ones is to curate a photo table to honor them at the reception. This has so much room for creativity and personalization, not to mention it’s beautifully decorative! You could put a framed photo (or photos) with a lit candle, some of their personal items, or a flower arrangement to tie this in with the rest of your decor. The key with the photo table is to make sure it is unique, but doesn’t look out of place.

resized-for-blog_-3Left: Storymix Media, Right: Michelle Lindsay Photography

Wear Something He or She Owned

If you happen to have a memento from the lost loved one, such as a necklace, a handkerchief, wedding ring, or a piece of their clothing, you can incorporate that into your ensemble. This comes in handy when you’re looking for something old, borrowed, or blue! You can string grandma’s pearls to your bouquet, wear dad’s tie, or sew a piece of mom’s dress inside yours. When you have that special piece from your loved one on your person, you can feel connected in a special way for the entire wedding.

resized-for-blog_-2Left: Something Turquoise, Right: Fawn Christiansen Photography

The Empty Chair

This gesture is not necessarily for everyone, especially if the wound is still fresh. However, if you have had plenty of time to grieve and are certain sad feelings won’t be triggered, “saving a seat” for this person can be a very sweet and special way to include them in the ceremony. You can put their name or a bouquet of their favorite flowers on a chair to mark their spot. In light of keeping the balance between celebration and memorial, this does tend to be a bit more on the melancholy side. But if you are looking to create a visual representation of their memorial, this is a great way to do it.

resized-for-blog_Left: Magnolia Adams Photography, Right: Caroline Joy Photography

A Song in The Loved One’s Honor

A way you can honor someone in an either a big or more low key way is to select a song in their memory. You can use a favorite song of the loved one in the ceremony, have a formal dance dedicated to them, or simply play a dance party jam that reminds you of special times with the special person. But as they say, music is the language of the heart, so know that tears could sneak up on you. This is similar to the empty chair, in that you might want to be sure the wound has properly healed. Also, keep in mind that we’re trying to keep things joyful at the reception, so an emotionally charged song might be better suited for the ceremony.

resized-for-blog_-5Left: D’Royal Music, Right: Bridal Musings

Honoring a lost loved one doesn’t necessarily have to be a grand gesture. In fact, that’s the most special part about it! You can do this as something shared with the whole attendance, or just something between the two of you, it just depends on how you choose to execute it. We hope that these ideas have sparked sweet memories of those passed on and inspirations on how to make them a part of your special day!

shoot-the-moon-photoPhoto Credit: Shoot the Moon Photography

Luminescent Beach House Wedding: Jessica & Gabe Married!

Hello friends, and happy Tuesday!


There’s just something a little extra magical about the sun’s glow when fall comes to Los Angeles. Almost a year ago, Jessica & Gabe were married in an oh so luminescent soiree in Manhattan Beach. This gorgeous couple’s wedding was one of our favorites from 2015, because they were just two of the most gosh darn nice and likeable people! The couple really wanted their special day to reflect their fun, laid back personalities in so many sweet and unique ways. We’re so excited to share it with you all…



Jessica and Gabe went with the warm, coastal feel of Manhattan Beach’s Verandas Beach House. This breathtaking venue worked so perfectly with the clean, soft pastels, and the couple’s laid back vibes. It also had a very appealing sense of progression, with the shifting indoor and outdoor presence.



The ceremony began with “Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togeva today.” We loved seeing these die hard fans of The Princess Bride movie in “twue wuv”!resized-for-blog-2jess-and-gabe-ceremony-143resized-for-blog-3

While most weddings use the florals as the main centerpoint of decor, this wedding really brought out the power of the glow. The candles, light fixtures, and setting sun produced a simply enchanting luminescence.


One thing that the couple really wanted was to make their wedding a true destination for friends and family from New York and Chicago. This was reflected through a cute map guestbook, as well as through signature drinks and eats typical of each city represented (think Chicago dogs and fish tacos… yum)!


All the guests danced the night away. And in true cool-couple form, they lead the whole wedding to the afterparty at a dive bar down the street. How awesome are these two? Congratulations on your new life together, Dr. & Mrs. Carpio! For more of Jessica & Gabe, check out their sweet wedding video here!


Vendor Love


Wedding Vendor Etiquette: Making the Most of Your Vendor Experience

Hello lovelies!

ks-sweetheart-tablePhoto Credit: Chloe Moore Photography

If one thing is true about making a wedding come to life, it’s that the day undoubtedly rests in the hands of your vendors. From the enchanting florals, to the enticing eats, down to the exquisitely printed paperware, each vendor plays a fundamental and unique role in your wedding day shenanigans. That being said, making the most of your wedding day vendors is all based on having the best possible interaction with them. The goal is to leave both parties happy and optimistic to working together again in the future. We at Marisa Nicole Events strongly believe that you can always catch more flies with honey than vinegar… While dealing with vendors can be stressful, with the right know-how and a cheerful spirit to go with it, both parties will leave satisfied and smiling. So, here is our advice for getting the most out of your vendor experience!

leanneandmattwedding-1458Photo Credit: Booth Photographics

Getting Started

Three words… Plan in advance! Before you even think about contacting vendors, be sure to know what your budget is, both overall and specifically for the service the company you are meeting with offers. Once you do start connecting with potential vendors, let them know your price point and ask them what services they can include while staying true to that. Many brides worry that presenting a strict budget means vendors will shy away from giving her everything she wants for the wedding, but it is in fact the opposite! When vendors have an honest, clear budget to work with, and a straightforward idea of what you have in mind, each will do what they can to make it happen within your price range (and if they can’t, you’ll save a lot of time not communicating with vendors you can’t afford). As always, throughout the research process with potential vendors, kindness is key!

tracy-adam-wedding-4Photo Credit: Iris and Light Photography

Booking & Negotiations

Hooray! You’ve decided on a vendor to book, now you just need to solidify details and make things official! Here is where the precedence is set for what your relationship with each vendor looks like moving forward. Through all the planning, design, or what have you, remember that each vendor plays a massive part in making your day everything you want it to be, so treat your vendors with respect. In other words, don’t be that client who is a pain in the booty during this part of the communication and negotiation process, because you don’t want to end up paying top dollar simply because vendors think you’re a pill. When the potential vendors present you with their fees, understand that if you have been consistently specific and kind, it is their honest price. Trying to haggle a price point or talking them down can give off vibes that say you’re feeling as if the vendor isn’t worth what they think they are. Constant kindness from you means when it comes down to it, vendors will bend over backwards for you!

mel-and-andy-19Photo Credits: Ronca Productions

Wedding Logistics

As you approach the date of the event, don’t forget to communicate with your vendors! Don’t assume they’re off doing their job and don’t need to hear from you anymore. Ask for each vendor’s collaboration by sending your contact the working day of flow. See if what you have planned is setting their team up for success. When your contact gives you feedback, actually take it into consideration and try to work it into the day of plan. If what he or she is asking for just isn’t possible, be sure to communicate why, keeping the lines of communication open and allowing each vendor to feel as if his or her expert opinion is valued. If your vendors don’t feel heard, they are much less likely to give you their all on the big day. Just be clear and interactive.

ks-401-of-1130Photo Credit: Kim Fox Photography


When the big day arrives, the most important thing to keep in mind with vendors is to never, ever treat them like they are ‘the help’ (sorry if this sounds uncouth, but there just isn’t a better way to put it). Each one of wedding team members has shown up to make your special day even more wonderful, and should be treated as kindly and with as much respect as one of your guests. The key is to remember that although your vendors are providing a professional service on your wedding day, they are still people too, just doing his or her best to make your celebration fab. Oh, and please, please feed your vendors in a timely manner. We suggest having the vendors eat at the same time that your guests do, as you wouldn’t want them to have to miss a minute of the action once speeches and dancing commence (the photographer can’t snag photos of your bestie’s Maid of Honor rap if the vendor meal is served at the same time and a hungry band won’t able to perform their best with tummies rumbling).

haelydavid-452Photo Credit: Andrew Abajian Photography

Post-Wedding Etiquette

In the same way that our mothers taught us to say “please” (see the “booking & negotiations” section above), they also taught us to say “thank you.”  We at Marisa Nicole Events truly believe that showing your hard working vendors how much you appreciate them is a must if you want your vendors to feel like you are happy with their work. This is where tips (and a kind note) come in. Which vendors should you tip, you ask? Our rule of thumb is that you tip the team members who are actually present during your wedding, pouring their blood, sweat and tears into making your day a success (whether or not the person on-site is an employee or the owner of the company)! If your vendor did a fantastic job and played a part in making your wedding as perfect as you had hoped, then put your money where your mouth is and give them a tip and a nice note to thank him or her for their service! If they’re not tipped, vendors will take it as a hint that they didn’t do a good job. Tip them, write thoughtful thank you notes, etc… Just give them love if they did their job well.

440-seaton-warehouse-event-venues-los-angelesPhoto Credit: Leif Brandt Photography

The bottom line is, always be as sweet as possible to your vendors! As we said earlier, you will always catch more flies with honey. Kindness is the the key to having the most productive interactions, getting the best price, and having the best overall experience. Just remember that it’s your day, and your vendors are there to make it phenomenal! Happy booking!

beccarillo_20151204_5223Photo Credit: Becca Rillo Photography