Friday, July 31, 2009

Exciting News!

My new book Party Like A Rock Star is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders. The book is fabulous, full of great info, and makes a wonderful gift. We just received the first advance copy at the office and it looks beautiful! Get your copies now!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Jes' Picks

Tonight's installment of the E! news segment "Countdown to the Alter" focuses on Melissa picking a dress and me taking a look at some affordable accessory options for the bride and wedding party.
We shot on location in the J. Crew store at The Grove. We looked at items that can be used for the wedding day, but also everyday so you get the most bang for your buck! Below are some of my favorite pieces from the shoot:

This bracelet is affordable at $78.00 and makes a great accessory for the bride or gift for any of the bridal party.
This ring makes a big statement at only $65.00

These flip-flops are great as a gift for bridesmaids (at a very affordable $24.50) to change into while dancing the night away!

In a variety of fun and practical colors this clutch is a perfect size for storing lipgloss, credit cards and of course a cell phone for the big day or any night out! ($98.00)

I discuss these items and many more great finds on Tuesday's E! News at 7pm.
(Photos courtesy of

Third E! News Segment

This third segment from E! News series "Countdown to the Alter" focuses on location location location!

Second E! News Segment

Here is the second segment from the "Countdown to the Alter" series on E! News.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Simple Things That Look Bling

- Creative lighting is a way to completely transform a space without having to do much. You can change the color of an entire room by using different light bulbs or by using a gel on recessed lights. The effect can be pretty stunning.

- Mirrors add mega-bling-- they open up a space and people adore gazing at themselves when they're feeling sexy and celebratory. You can use wall mirrors, floor mirrors, mirrored vases for florals, or even smaller mirrors as coasters.

- Use larger voluptuous flowers that will make a bigger splash rather than lots of little flowers all over the place. Peonies, hydrangeas, sunflowers, and dahlias have a great presence that allows you to use less stems and still fake a bountiful arrangement. A single peony in a small vase is more impressive to me than ten smaller flowers, like freeshia sitting in the same vase. - Provide noticeable details, such as a single flower on each napkin or a nice napkin tie made of wired ribon or tied grass at a dinner party. Creating cool seating cards for your guests, such as writing guest's name on a rock-if it's fall, try it on a big colorful leaf from your backyard.

(Photographs By:, Andre Maier Photography)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pics of centerpieces from the Today Show

The Ballroom at The Plaza, complete with our arrangements.
Everyone kept commenting how original our centerpieces were.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ten Easy Ways to Cheapify Your Party

This is a list of 10 easy ways to keep your budget under control while still having a fabulous event!

1. Edit your guest list: You don't have to invite everyone to every party. Take a look at your list and rethink those guests that maybe would be better for your next party.

2. Change the date: Simple things such as changing from a Saturday evening to a Friday or Sunday can drastically reduce your price when renting a venue. Also for a party planned far in advance consider changing the season, often winter months or right after a holiday are times you can negotiate a better price.

3. Keep it short and sweet: The party doesn't have to go on forever. The object is to leave your guests wanting more rather than dying to get out of there.

4. Go disposable: Using good quality, fun disposable products can often cut costs and be more interesting than costly glass and dinnerware. If you must buy real plates consider cost effective places like IKEA and Target.

5. Find The One: For decorations, pick one thing you adore and go with that. For example if you love candles buy votives in bulk and place them everywhere!

6. Look beneath the top shelf: When purchasing alcohol, you don't always need to buy top of the line. Try a new lesser known vodka brand, buy a
well made local wine, or substitute pricey champagne with more affordable Prosecco.

7. Buy in bulk: Go to a store like Costco or Sam's and embrace the selection! Buying more will save you money in the long run.

8. Find workable spaces: Choose venues that are party ready, don't choose a place that you need to put a lot into before it will be in working order. Ensure the space has things like the correct power so you don't have to rent a generator.

9. Go indoors: The cost of outdoor parties can get out of hand, especially with rentals and if the weather goes awry. All of the sudden you need tents, flooring, heating or air-conditioning. Indoor parties are not vulnerable to these added costs.

10. Use in-house stuff: When renting a venue try to use whatever they have in-house already. Tables, chairs, and linens can get costly when renting so this is a great way to save. If you really dislike the chairs or linens you can rent covers and overlays for much less than all new pieces.

Try going over your budget again now that you know these tricks and highlight areas that you will be ably to cut costs. Tomorrow I'll have sugJEStions on how to do a few simple things that look bling!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

Yesterday I wrote a little about how to begin a successful budget, but now its time to figure out how much those things on your list are really going to cost. It can be difficult to estimate these cost so the most important thing here is research. For example, you can Google your desired items with the word "wholesale" to begin comparing prices. You also should start getting initial quotes from vendors for their services. Don't forget to ask about things like delivery, set-up fees and tax because those are little things that can really add up!

Remember it is alway better to overestimate than underestimate. There is nothing worse that being at a party with stingy portions of everything. Also keep in mind who will be in attendance; if the party is for the local football team then up the ante for the food.

One other aspect that is often overlooked is tipping. If you have hired anyone to help with your event, be sure to allocate some of your budget toward tipping. Even if it is a friend who offered to help out on average, people really do prefer money. So take the time to write a nice note and slip a check into the envelope to show your gratitude. Some of the people who may be on this list include: waitstaff, bartenders, salesperson for the venue, DJ, photographer, florist, and planners. If your party is taking place at home it is always respectful to let your neighbors know and event drop off a nice note and gift if possible.

Usually the miscellaneous costs are the things that become the biggest challenge. Unexpected issues can arise. Two ways to combat these issues are to have a small amount of the budget set aside for unexpected expenses and to always keep your receipts. Often if you pay with credit cards you will forget about the cost and lose track of what you just swiped away. Create a designated folder or even just a shoebox to throw all of your receipts in and then commit to a routine of checking them against your budget.

Much of creating an event involves compromise. To stay within budget you sometimes will have to bend in some areas to achieve your dream in others. Tomorrow I will have a list of 10 easy ways to "Cheapify Your Party" and help you stretch your budget while keeping everything fabulous!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Right on the Money: Making a Budget

Money is on the forefront of everyone's thoughts these days, and often celebrating is one of the hardest things to place a price tag on. Budgets however, are one of the most essential aspects of planning any event no matter how large or small.

Most people get overwhelmed with where to begin, but it's really very simple: start with a number. Sit down with the friends, company, in-laws or partner that are involved and come up with an exact amount you are willing to spend. What you are doing within the budget is flexible but this overall number should be something you agree to stick to. One of the best ways to keep this under control is to open a separate bank account just for these expenses. This way you are able to track them without having the party funds mingling with the mortgage payments and utility bills.

After coming up with the grand total you are wanting to spend then you need thoroughly visualize every single expense it will take to create your kick-ass party! This should be the party version of a grocery list. This list should be detailed, not just "Beer, Burgers, Birthday Cake..." it needs to include everything from your pre-party manicure to extra toilet paper to post-party cleanup, because those little costs add up.

To get you started on your list, here are a few categories and some examples of things that can fall into each:
1. Venue
- Location Fees
- Dinnerware
- Security
- Portable Restrooms

2. Food/Drink
- Caterer, Waitstaff (Plus Tips!)
- Delivery and Pick-Up
- Alcohol

3. Entertainment
- DJ
- Equipment
- iPod

4. Decor
- Indoor Lighting
- Tent
- Throw pillows
- Candles
- Flowers

5. Invitations
- Postage Costs
- Stationary
- Thank-You Notes
- Printing

6. Miscellaneous
- Beauty Items
- Transportation
- Insurance and Permits
- Tips and Gifts

This list just hits the high points of a standard budget but is a good place to get started. Once you have your mac-daddy list you can start to examine what items are the most important to you and in what areas you will be able to save money. Be honest with yourself in the beginning and things will go much more smooth as the planning gets underway. Get started here whether you have a budget big or small and remember you are always lucky to have a reason to celebrate! I have more budget tips to come!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Art of a Fabulous Centerpiece

Here is a video of me giving some great tips and tricks about how to create a fabulous centerpiece for any occasion. There are more of these types of "SUGjesTIONS" to come, and they are all available in my book Party Like a Rock Star out October 1st! - jes

Monday, July 6, 2009

E! News Segment

Here is the first of the E! News Segments we are doing called Countdown to the Altar. Let me know what you guys think and stay tuned for the the new segments!

New wedding pics

Check out more pics from Dan and Makenzie's wedding, by going to our facebook page.

Wedding pics!

Centerpieces waiting to be put on tables!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

My good friend and amazing photographer, Andre Maier at the ISES awards. We both won!!!


So here I am sitting in the airport after my East Coast jaunt, and I finally have the time to sit back and reflect on what happened on this trip!! Though I am exhausted most of the time, in hindsight I suppose my life is pretty damned exciting because the last few weeks of madness has finally come to a reality for me as I exist in a limbo state of wondering whether or not I still have my driver's license in my my pocket and writing a flower recipe for an upcoming gig.

When I first arrived in NY, my mind could only contain Peonies. In creating Dan and Makenzie's wedding at the TriBeca Rooftop venue downtown, we had the pleasure of using of some nature's most incredible gift that had been nurtured and grown on Seema Boesky's estate in connecticut. I dont know Seema well; but it is clear to me that she knows the art of Peonies more than I know my own tush! our studio filled quickly with dark pink, light pink and bridal white peonies creating a virtual cloud of "wow-ness" in our dingy work room. Needless to say this wedding was magnificent. There is something so ethereal about a lush flower that smells like heaven. The other thing that made this wedding pop was the pure fabulous-ness of this particular bride. Makenzie is every planner's dream; she keeps things in perspective and she continually kept her eye on the ball: her now husband Dan who also is simply an awesome dude.
I find it inspiring when brides; particularly young ones are just simply happy to be getting married to the dude they adore and not go whack on the little things. This is a fine art that Makenzie has mastered throughout her life it seems.

Onto my other world. We met with our book editor for PARTY LIKE A ROCK STAR later in the week, and wow I am getting an education on the art of marketing a book. Basically the book is only as good as its readers, you do the math...I will have to keep you all up to date on that situation as it unfolds... our E! NEWS segments are going swimmingly well while I master the art of powdering my face and crawling around my work space at the same time! Its kind of funny watching me try to be glamorous! more on that later too...

Onto the Big apple ISES Awards! well, we took home two!! it was lovely bringing home these little glass apples crafted by Simon Pearce, good times.... do you guys know what ISES is? well it stands for International Special Events Society and its pretty cool for folks like us in the industry to have this type of society to network within and to get called out with high honors. For folks like me who never made mom proud in school this has proved to suffice...

Speaking of mom. In my few spare hours on this trip, my dear mommy Suzy took me to see Billy Elliot; holy crap that kid could shake a leg yo! being a person who doesn't sit very well for long periods of time, I was surprised to find myself glued and well behaved in my seat void of snacking, blackberry'ing and fidgeting. I find it fascinating when young people can focus hard and long enough to become masters at what they do. Their discipline astounds and delights me! Thanks mom, for making me sit and enjoy for once; the added plus was that it was with you...
peace out!- more from the west coast as it all unfolds.... xoxojg