Author Archives: Amanda Zack

Marlene Fahrenkrog | Beets Hospitality Group

Marlene Fahrenkrog, Beets Hospitality {Creative Partner Spotlight}

We’re bringing back our Creative Partner Spotlight series and showing some love to our fellow industry professionals! First up, we’re shining a well-deserved light on Marlene Fahrenkrog, the Executive Director of Sales for Beets Hospitality Group.

Beets Hospitality is the exclusive event management and catering company for two of our favorite venues, Palm Event Center in the Vineyard and Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery.

Without further ado, here is a bit about Marlene!


Marlene Fahrenkrog | Beets Hospitality Group

Tell us a bit about your professional background. What brought you to the event industry?

Worked in the hotel industry for 26 years and wanted to learn something new!

What do you love about your job?

I love the team at Beets the most – we call ourselves Beets Peeps. 🙂 I also love our clients and the amazing events that come together with all of their creativity shining through!

If you could share one wedding planning tip with an engaged couple, what would you tell them?

Be true to yourselves in all decisions you make during the planning process. This is your big day and everything should be focused on the two of you and what makes you happy!


Marlene is a delight to work with and we appreciate her commitment to fulfilling clients’ event visions. Cheers to you, Marlene!

holiday covers

6 Holiday Covers to Spice Up the Party

‘Tis the season for Christmas music! As you turn up the dial, you might be looking for something a little different to mix with your old-fashioned favorites. We’ve compiled a number of holiday covers to keep you in the festive spirit, whether you’re listening on your morning commute or you’re making a playlist for your upcoming holiday soiree. 

holiday covers

Here are six holiday covers of well-known Christmas songs to put on this year!

All I Want for Christmas is You” by Dolly Parton

Seasonal favorite, meet industry favorite! Everyone loves Mariah Carey’s epic jingle and everyone loves Dolly Parton, so this is the perfect cover to get people singing. Its country-esque tune is light, whimsical, and enjoyable for all.

What Christmas Means to Me” by John Legend

If this Stevie Wonder tune is a must-listen during your holiday season, you won’t want to miss out on John Legend’s melodic version. The ensemble backing him up is filled with various instruments for a fun vibe — plus, Stevie himself is on the harmonica!

Joy to the World” by Sufjan Stevens

A soft, sweet, and calming version of this age-old classic, Sufjan Stevens masters the acoustic sound for a holiday cover that is sure to win over guests of every age. Perfect for background music during mealtime or gift opening.

The Christmas Song” by She & Him

While you can’t go wrong with Frank Sinatra & Nat King Cole, we’re partial to the beautiful and romantic cover of The Christmas Song by She & Him. This version just makes us want to cozy up with a warm blanket, a mug of cocoa, and our loved ones!

Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by Bruce Springsteen 

Traditional? Not quite. A great holiday cover? Totally. The Boss adds just the right amount of edge to this Christmas classic for a fun and dynamic beat. This is one your guests may request to repeat!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Bublé

The holiday cover to end all holiday covers! This classic has become so popular that most people don’t even know that Michael Bublé’s version is a cover of a song that dates back to the 1950s. It’s certainly a Christmas staple for any festive party!

Need help with last-minute entertainment for your holiday parties? We’ve got you covered! Drop us a line and let us fill your celebration (and your dance floor) with joy!

popped - holiday proposals

New Press: Popped! | Holiday Proposals

With the holidays upon us, we loved seeing Kevin’s latest feature on Popped! as he speaks to planning meaningful holiday proposals!

According to The Knot, peak proposal season falls between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day with 40% (!!) of engagements taking place between November and February. The most popular days are, of course, for holiday proposals:

  • Christmas Day
  • Christmas Eve
  • Valentine’s Day
  • New Year’s Day
  • New Year’s Eve
  • Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving behind us, we are in the early stages of engagement season — and we can already feel the excitement brewing in the wedding industry!

So this feature on Popped! is a timely roundup if you’re considering popping the question in the next few months. Read it here.

popped - holiday proposals

Here’s a tidbit from the article, as Kevin suggests how to celebrate holiday proposals:

Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services says, “One of the best things about planning a proposal around the holidays is that your family and friends will likely already be in town, so you can organize a celebration fairly easy without drawing suspicion. Whether you choose to hold an impromptu engagement party or pop the question during a holiday get-together, you’ll be able to make the occasion even more special by having your loved ones involved.”

Read the full feature on Popped here!

winter weddings

4 Reasons We Love Winter Weddings

Winter is quite a romantic season, making it perfect for saying “I do.” There’s no better time for couples to cozy up by a fire, go ice skating, or enjoy a lovely evening stroll. Here in California, we all love a little winter coziness and are complete suckers for dreamy winter weddings!

winter weddings

Whether you’re still deciding on your wedding season or you’re eagerly anticipating a wintry celebration of your own, here are some of our favorite things about winter weddings!

You can get creative with your menu.

Whether you’re going for a grand affair with hundreds of guests or prefer to keep the celebration small and intimate, food and drinks should never be overlooked when planning your wedding!

What’s great about winter weddings is that you don’t have to limit attendees to the usual chicken or beef options. The cold weather means anything goes—as long as it’s hot! You can get more creative with the menu by serving crowd-pleasing comfort foods and seasonal cocktails and beverages. Hearty soups, stews, classic mac and cheese, spiked apple cider, hot cocoas, and mulled wine are all worth considering.

You get your pick of some beautiful color palettes.

Who said winter weddings had to be boring or monochromatic? Couples often add touches of deep jewel tones such as red, burgundy, navy blue, and emerald green in their decorations. They add an element of elegance, and are quite a sight when paired with metallic accents! And with or without snow, the rich colors make a striking contrast against the overall grayness of the weather.

A winter wedding also never fails to create a romantic and cozy vibe. If you want to set a homey, inviting mood on your big day, you can add touches of rich browns and tans to evoke campfires and snug log cabins.   

You will have more vendor availability with less budget.

Your wedding is one of the most important days in your life, and we know you want to create the most magical, memorable celebration possible. The vendors you pick can make or break your event, so it’s vital to put a lot of careful thought into choosing them! In the winter, vendors have more availability, so you’ll have a better chance at creating your dream team.

And of course, you also need to consider your budget because you don’t want to dip into your long-term savings or go into debt planning your wedding. Luckily, you have a good shot at booking highly-rated, sought-after vendors, and snagging their services at a lower rate! Why? Because winter is “off-season” in the wedding industry, so you’ll often see a drop in prices. It’s almost too good to be true!  

Your guests will be eager to join.

Many couples choose to say their “I do’s” during the summer. By hosting yours in the winter, you don’t have to worry about competing with other weddings or summer vacations! Plus, most of your guests will likely have additional time off for the holidays, so it won’t take much convincing to extend their breaks to accommodate your wedding. It’ll be much easier to get all of your favorite people in the world together for the celebration of the season!

As they say, winter is the most wonderful time of the year! If a wintry wonderland wedding is in your sights, you’re making a great choice. Enjoy your wedding preparations!

thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is a day for practicing gratitude and we wanted to let our clients and colleagues know how much we appreciate them. Thank you for all that you do!

thanksgiving

We hope you are spending the day enjoying food, family, and football!

beach proposal

New Press: BRIDES | Planning a Beach Proposal

Is there anything more romantic than a sweet and sandy beach proposal? Swoon! Kevin was recently featured on BRIDES sharing advice for popping the question in a picture-perfect setting.

Read the full feature here!

beach proposal

So before you book your flight and pack your flip flops next to that sparkling ring, make sure to read this article to get your plans in order!

pleasanton wedding partyslate

Bria + Ryan’s Pleasanton Wedding Featured on PartySlate

Be still our hearts! We were thrilled to see Bria and Ryan’s gorgeous Casa Real wedding featured on PartySlate in all of its glory.

Now, the photos below are just a glimpse of the reception. But wait until you see the romantic ceremony setup and the stunning outdoor lounge space! The combination of draping, greenery, candlelight, and plush furniture is truly a scene to behold.

Oh, and did we mention the nacho bar decked out with all the fixings? It was the perfect match to Bria and Ryan’s two signature cocktails: negronis and margaritas. If that doesn’t sound like a party to remember, we don’t know what does.

Guests were truly treated to an inviting celebration of the newlyweds, complete with a bottle of red wine to take home!

See the full feature on PartySlate here!

pleasanton wedding partyslate

Most importantly, we’d like to recognized the incredible team of creative partners that helped bring this beautiful wedding to life:

Wedding Planner: Amazae Events

Photography: Ashley Maxwell Photography

Venue: Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery

Floral Design: Bloomster’s

DJ: AVL Entertainment

Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen

Rentals: Theoni CollectionBright Event RentalsPleasanton Event Rentals

Lighting: Fantasy Sound Event Services | Enhanced Lighting & Audio Visual

Stationery: Ji Kim Designs

Videography: Featherstone Films

Cake: Cake Creations by Bev

holiday event

4 Clever Holiday Event Décor Ideas

The holiday season is upon us! This is the perfect time to celebrate and create wonderful memories that you and your loved ones will remember fondly for years to come. If you’re planning a holiday event this time of year, make sure to bring the cheer! You can start by adding some decorative elements and embellishments to your venue to create a welcoming and festive vibe.

holiday event

Venue: Casa Real

Are you struggling to figure out how to decorate your holiday event? This blog post is perfect for you! Read on for tips and ideas to get your holiday event just right.

Wow your guests with interactive food stations

An excellent way to impress your guests is with carefully selected, interactive food stations. These can complement your traditional catering, plus you can jazz them up with thematic décor. The idea is to offer variety and interactivity by getting your guests involved as they prepare their own food or beverage.

Since the holiday season always calls for hot drinks, you can set up a bar where guests can make their own hot chocolate or peppermint coffee. And for eventgoers with a sweet tooth, you can prepare a buffet of holiday treats like sugar cookies, gingerbread biscuits, and cupcakes they can decorate before eating! 

Not only do these food stations offer guests a unique and fun experience, but they also encourage them to mingle.

Adorn your holiday event space with natural elements

A few pinecones, chestnuts, berries, and sprigs of greenery can add some flair to your holiday décor. By using natural elements, you are able to set a warm and cozy mood, and we all know that this is what the holidays are all about!

Have fun with holiday event signage

The signage at your event serves various functions. They can provide information, directions, and even reminders to your guests. But don’t forget to make sure they match your theme to tie the look of your holiday event together!

Consider alluding to Santa, the holidays, Christmas, Chanukah, or winter when crafting your signage. For instance, imagine calling an interactive food station, the Elf-Service Station (Get it? Self-service)! Or, you could add a touch of humor to your decor with “better not pout” tabletop signs. 

These are just a few fun ideas to get your creative juices flowing, but the possibilities are endless!

Place some hanging string lights

If you’re going for a winter wonderland feel for your holiday event, try hanging some ice blue, bright white, or warm white string lights to create the perfect ambiance. You can also opt to buy string lights with a snowflake design. With the proper lighting, you are sure to keep things merry and bright!

Regardless of how you decorate your holiday event, remember to strive for a consistent and cohesive look for your event. Choose a theme and matching color palette, then stick to them. Happy holidays!

Event Services Showcase

You’re Invited: Event Services Showcase on November 17

The clock is ticking — our next Event Services Showcase is just around the corner! Join us next Wednesday, November 17, as we show off the exciting new inventory we have in stock along with all of our lighting and décor all-stars.

Event Services Showcase

We can’t wait to meet you and show you how we can help to transform your event design! Bring your questions because we’re ready to answer them ALL.

Our much-loved chandelier selection will be on display alongside other lighting elements for you to see for yourself. Oh, and while you’re here, make sure to take a spin in our Photo Booth!

We have three time slots available for you to choose from:

  • 6:30 p.m.
  • 7:30 p.m.
  • 8:30 p.m.

RSVP to the Event Services Showcase!

Looking for a more personal 1:1 consultation? We’ve got you covered. While we won’t be able to accommodate this at our Event Services Showcase, we would love to have you visit our office during business hours to discuss. You can schedule a consultation any time between 10 a.m. – 5  p.m. between Tuesday and Friday, or on Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. We can also make it work Wednesday and Thursday evenings, so don’t hesitate to ask!

Schedule a personal consultation

Photo of the Week: Wedding Dragon Dance

We always get excited when our couples infuse their weddings with cultural traditions that celebrate their heritage. This wedding dragon dance at Palm Event Center was no exception!

wedding dragon dance

Our rustic beam Edison chandelier looked lovely paired with our reclaimed wood wall with personalized monogram letters. Cue the confetti, indeed!

wedding guest list

A Guide to Creating Your Wedding Guest List

Once engaged, the excitement starts to build and most couples eagerly anticipate the day they get to say “I do” in front of their friends and family. But curating the guest list can be challenging — deciding who should and shouldn’t be invited can be an emotionally draining experience.

If this resonates with you, don’t worry! With careful planning and the right approach, you’ll be able to create a wedding guest list that includes all of your favorite people in the world. 

Here are some valuable tips that will make the process a whole lot easier for you!

1. Estimate your headcount.

Some couples make the mistake of looking at possible wedding venues without having a rough idea of how many guests they plan to invite. Often, they end up having to cut some names from the list in order to fit the number of guests into their chosen venue. Doing so may lead to some of your would-be guests harboring resentment.

Save yourself from unnecessary stress by deciding whether you want an intimate celebration or a grand affair before shopping for venues. This way, you don’t have to risk limiting the number of guests who’ll be attending your wedding.

2. Be mindful of your budget.

While you might want to invite and accommodate as many people as possible, the reality is this: the more people you invite, the more expensive your wedding will be. 

At the end of the day, wedding expenses can be broken down into costs per person. You are paying for every guest who will be at your wedding, so make sure they are worth it! Be sure to invite only those whose presence will make your wedding magical and memorable. If you can’t picture the day without them, they belong on the list!

3. Curate the list with your partner.

Remember: Weddings involve two people! That means both you and your partner need to be invested in your guest list and curate it together. There might be other people, such as close family members, who will try to influence who goes on that list, but ultimately, it’s up to the two of you to decide who makes the cut.

Don’t be afraid to respectfully put your foot down, if necessary. After all, it’s your wedding and you don’t need to invite your mother-in-law’s childhood best friend’s sister if you don’t want to.

4. Establish rules regarding plus-ones and children.

Allowing guests to bring plus-ones and children to your wedding will increase your expenses, but may also increase the fun. Weigh the pros and cons of hosting kids, and determine whether you want an adults-only event or if you’re okay with having little ones there. You can indicate this in your wedding invitations. It’s also a good idea to inform your guests of the number of seats you have reserved for their party or group. 

Granting plus-ones to your guests is also up to you. When deciding whether or not to allow a guest to have a plus-one, consider the following: Have you met your guest’s date? How long has your guest known their plus-one? What is the nature of their relationship? Yes, this last one might seem a bit nosy, but it’s your wedding and you have the right to know who will attend. After all, you don’t want any unnecessary drama to unfold on your big day.

5. Remain organized.

A spreadsheet is an invaluable tool for keeping track of your guests. You’ll want to keep everyone’s names, phone numbers, addresses, and other crucial information in one accessible place.

In your spreadsheet, consider color-coding your guests or adding columns to determine whether they have already RSVPed. You can also have a section to indicate the guests’ preferred meal, which you can easily relay to the caterer. It also helps to add a column to note any gifts that you receive, making it simple to send thank-you notes after the wedding.

Don’t forget to share this document with your planner and caterer to ensure that the wedding planning process is streamlined for everyone involved.

While your wedding guest list will evolve over time, it’s best to get a headstart on it in the early stages of the planning process. Set aside an evening with your partner, order some takeout, crack open a bottle of wine, and get to planning!

vendor cancellations - weddingwire

New Press: WeddingWire – Vendor Cancellations

Last-minute wedding vendor cancellations sound like a nightmare, right? It certainly isn’t the ideal situation. Rest assured that the rest of your event team knows what to do — especially your wedding planner.

Kevin chimed in on this topic for a roundup on WeddingWire alongside a number of other wedding experts.

vendor cancellation - weddingwire

Kevin’s take on vendor cancellations:

“Your planner will help you find a replacement in the blink of an eye. This is what they have been hired to do and will handle it quickly and professionally. They may even consider the vendor team you already have, and one of them might be the solution to the problem.”

See the full article on WeddingWire to learn what to do about a last-minute vendor cancellation!

5 Wedding Themes for Your Big Day

As an engaged couple, one of the most crucial decisions you’ll have to make while planning your big day is your theme. There are a number of creative wedding themes to choose one, so it’s about finding one that fits you and your partner’s tastes! It should incorporate elements that truly reflect who you are as a couple and as individuals, while at the same time pleasing your guests and leaving them awed.

Try to decide on one as early as possible as it sets the tone for the entire event! It determines your wedding colors, the style of the wedding attire, the food you’ll serve, and so on. 

If you’re struggling to figure out how your special day should look, we’ve rounded up some of the top wedding themes you can use and get those creative juices flowing. Ready to be inspired? Read on!  

rustic wedding themes

Rustic wedding theme

If you and your partner are fans of nature and the great outdoors, you might want to celebrate the most important day of your lives with a rustic wedding theme! Think natural wood, earthy blooms, burlap, wine barrels, naked cakes, and floral hoops. You can go for an organic, down-to-earth style, or evoke a more ethereal, fairytale vibe.  

Travel wedding theme

Do you love traveling? How about sharing your passion with your wedding guests? You can start with passport-inspired wedding invitations and add more travel touches to your stylings. Think vintage-style postcards as table numbers, globes as centerpieces, paper planes as escort cards—the possibilities are endless! For a more personal touch, you can also bring in decorations that remind you of an important trip you took together or a destination that holds memories for you as a couple.

traditional wedding themes

Traditional wedding theme

Couples who want a timeless aesthetic usually go for a traditional wedding theme. These are perfect if you want a clean and elegant aesthetic. Classic styling such as white blooms, light-colored linens, posh seating, and subtle décor are typically prominent in the wedding venue. Banquet halls, hotel ballrooms, golf and country clubs, and private estates work well for this tried and tested wedding theme.  

Vintage wedding theme

Vintage weddings are always a fun, nostalgic way to celebrate the beginning of a couple’s new life together! This theme takes inspiration from yesteryear by incorporating antique-looking decor into the wedding venue, such as old suitcases, antique cameras, and book stacks. For entertainment, they usually pick out songs from their favorite era for the DJ or band to play. Couples can also cap off the celebration by driving away in a cute vintage car, like an old Volkswagen or Porsche.

bohemian wedding themes

Bohemian wedding theme

Boho weddings appeal to laid-back couples and may be confused for rustic weddings. However, a boho wedding incorporates more whimsical and eclectic elements into the event, such as mismatched chairs, punchy floral arrangements, macrame accents, oriental rugs, dream catchers, and the like.

While bohemian-themed weddings are typically held in outdoor venues such as gardens and beaches, casual venues such as barns and industrial spaces can be transformed to achieve this quirky yet lovely style. Just take a look at the fun design at Palm Event Center above!

 

Remember that wedding themes should speak to both you and your partner’s interests and personalities. All of your wedding details should complement each other—just like the two of you. Happy brainstorming!

catering foodservice & events press

New Press: Catering Foodservice & Events

The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time to start planning those holiday celebrations! Kevin’s latest feature in Catering Foodservice & Events Magazine is getting us in the spirit for decorating.

catering foodservice & events press

catering foodservice & events magazine

In it, he encourages the mixing and matching of decor to keep things interesting and add layers to a design:

“It’s a common misconception that everything has to match seamlessly,” says Kevin Dennis, owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services and a certified event planner. “In fact, serving cocktails in vintage glassware or mixing metallics with charging plates is perfect for adding dimension!”

To read the latest issue, subscribe to Catering Foodservice & Events Magazine for free!

wedding traditions

7 Wedding Traditions to Know and Love

Engaged couples are not the only ones excited for their big day—so are their loved ones! During the planning stage, your family and close friends will often offer suggestions on how to make the festivities more meaningful and memorable. While it is ultimately up to you and your partner how your event will go, many wedding traditions are worth exploring if they feel right for both of you.

If you want to learn more, this blog will round up some of the more interesting wedding customs you can consider for your celebration.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into some favorite wedding traditions!

wedding traditions

Bouquet and Garter Toss

This is one of the most popular wedding traditions out there, but how does it work? For the bouquet toss, the single women in attendance attempt to catch the bouquet tossed by the bride. Whoever succeeds is believed to be the next to marry. For the garter toss, the groom goes under the bride’s gown to remove her leg garter, which he tosses to a group of eager bachelors. The person who caught the garter, in turn, places it on the leg of the one who caught the bouquet.

 

Door Games

If you’re looking for an exciting and lighthearted wedding tradition, door games are perfect for your celebration. For many Chinese couples, these games are a must on the morning of their wedding day. It revolves around the groom proving his worth and dedication to the bride by working hand-in-hand with his groomsmen to surpass a series of tests and challenges prepared by her bridesmaids. This activity will surely elicit lots of smiles and laughter from participants and spectators alike!

 

Releasing of Doves

Commonly practiced in Filipino weddings, a pair of male and female doves are released at the end of the ceremony to represent the couple’s desire for a harmonious relationship, as they symbolize unity and peace. Doves are also known to mate for life! It’s perfect for those who want to create a romantic, meaningful ending to their wedding.

 

The Sugar Cube

Greek brides typically tuck a sugar cube into their glove or bouquet on their wedding day, as it’s believed to bring the couple happiness in their new life together. So if you want to sweeten your marriage, it wouldn’t hurt to follow their lead!

 

Parent Dances

Looking for a special way to pay tribute to your parents on your wedding day? How about a traditional father-daughter and mother-son dance? Couples can also choose to share this sweet moment with other cherished family members, like grandparents, step-parents, godparents, siblings, aunts, or uncles.

 

Money Dances

The money dance is customary in many cultures. In exchange for a dance, guests pin bills onto the bride or groom’s clothing with good wishes. This long-standing wedding tradition serves to usher in wealth and prosperity in the couple’s marriage. Additionally, it’s a fun and interactive way for the couple to spend some time with their wedding guests!

 

Carrying the Bride Over the Threshold

In the Middle Ages, people believed that evil spirits lived on the threshold of new homes and would attack brides through the soles of their feet. Therefore, the groom carried his bride across the threshold to protect her. Today, it’s a romantic way to whisk the bride away from the party as they begin their new life together.

 

These are just a few of the wedding traditions you can incorporate into your special day. Of course, you can follow these old customs or start some of your own—feel free to mix it up! Ultimately, the most important thing is for your wedding to feel meaningful to you and your partner.

goodshuffle pro

New Press: Goodshuffle Pro

New week, new press! This time, Kevin chimed in on Goodshuffle Pro in a roundup about employee retention in the special events industry. As any business owner knows, our teams are our most valuable assets!

goodshuffle pro

Here’s a glimpse at what Kevin had to share:

“If there’s anything I learned during the height of 2020, it’s that I couldn’t have pushed through without my team. […] Employees are much more likely to stick with you when you give them the respect and consideration they deserve.”

Read the full feature on Goodshuffle Pro here!

livermore wedding

Anie + Jason | Casa Real Wedding

The Fantasy Sound team has been busy at work with this year’s wedding boom and we’re so delighted to be back doing what we love most: giving couples the weddings of their dreams! So it was lovely working on Anie and Jason’s Casa Real wedding  — it was a sweet reminder of the beauty of love, romance, and togetherness. Scroll down for a peek at their big day!

casa real wedding

Alongside bountiful blooms, champagne uplighting and creamy drapery softened the ceremony space at Casa Real for the perfect setting to say “I do.” In addition, we love how the elaborate ceremony arch played double duty at the sweetheart table during the reception!

livermore wedding lighting

casa real wedding ceremonylivermore wedding designlivermore wedding photography

livermore casa real wedding

Gorgeous florals from Wish Social Events, our much-loved crystal chandelier, and a couple who loves a good time certainly made this Casa Real wedding a celebration for the books!

livermore wedding design

casa real wedding reception

casa real wedding

california wedding lighting

livermore wedding

We hope you enjoyed our trip down memory lane with the happy couple!

Congratulations to Anie and Jason! Cheers to happily ever after!


Above all, thank you to all of our creative partners for bringing this beautiful Casa Real wedding to life!

Venue: Casa Real Events
Coordinator: Alyssa Hickerson, Beets Hospitality Group
Photography: De Joy Photography
Florist: Wish Social Events
Rentals: Pleasanton Rentals
Video: Lens of Lenox Videography
DJ: DJ Diko
Lighting/drapery: Fantasy Sound Event Services
Paper goods/Signage: Sweet and Crafty
Art/apparel/decor: Hye End Designs
Hair: Liezel Styles
Makeup: Antonia Cruz
Baker: Le Gâteau Elegant
Bridal Gown: BoLee Bridal Couture

Photo of the Week: Romantic First Dance

Most couples will tell you that most of their wedding was surreal. From standing at the altar and exchanging vows to getting down with loved ones on the dance floor, it can be a whirlwind of emotions and activity! But, for many, the romantic first dance is a powerful experience filled with love and purity.

The outside noise is hushed to silence. For a moment, your eyes lock with your partner’s and nothing else matters. You find stillness in a crowded room.

That’s why we love seeing romantic first dance pictures, as you can really see the raw emotion of a couple realizing that they’ve made it. The “this is it” moment in their eyes is palpable.

This sweet couple is sharing that very moment with our crystal chandelier glittering overhead. Talk about a beautiful way to start their forever journey!

Event Services Showcase

RSVP: Upcoming Event Services Showcase!

We had a blast at our first Event Services Showcase back in September! Now, we can’t wait to welcome a new set of couples to our next one in November.

Mark your calendar, as the next Event Services Showcase is set for Wednesday, November 17th. So make sure to RSVP as soon as possible to save your spot and start thinking about what you want to know!

Event Services Showcase

When you visit, you’ll get to meet the Fantasy Sound team, learn about our services, and ask all the questions that have been arising as you plan your big day.

You’ll also get to test out our Photo Booth and see our renowned chandelier selection and other lighting elements up close and in person.

RSVP for one of three time slots:

  • 6:30 p.m.
  • 7:30 p.m.
  • 8:30 p.m.

Save my spot at the Event Services Showcase!

NOTE: Our Showcase is a meet-and-greet, which means there will be other couples in attendance. If you are looking to connect one-on-one, we are happy to accommodate that as well!

Schedule a personal consultation from Tuesday-Friday between 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. or on Saturdays between 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. We also have appointments available on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Get in touch with us to schedule your consultation.

Apartment Therapy

New Press: Apartment Therapy

It’s getting to be spooky season and we’re here for all of the Halloween inspo! Our very own Kevin was featured on Apartment Therapy where he shares his take on Halloween parties this year.

Apartment Therapy

He shares ways to transform your backyard into a Halloween masterpiece, while cautioning readers to be mindful of COVID while planning. Let’s be safe while having fun!

Check out the full article on Apartment Therapy here.

4 Tips for Planning Your Event Floor Plan

It’s easy to get caught up in beautiful design and aesthetics when planning your wedding. However, it is essential not to lose sight of the logistical side of it — namely, your floor plan. After all, how can you enjoy all of the lovely decor if guests are packed together like sardines and caterers are getting jammed up on their serving routes?

A great floor plan allows everyone sit comfortable and mingle as they please, while ensuring event staff can move through the space without issue. Here are four key considerations when mapping out your wedding floor plan.

Know your guest list.

Your headcount is one of the most essential factors to keep in mind when creating your floor plan. Consult with your venue coordinator, as they typically have sample floor plans on-hand based on their space. Don’t forget to consider your guests’ needs, as well. If you have guests with wheelchairs or elderly folks who need a little more space to get in and out of their seats, be sure to seat them in an area that is easily accessible from the restrooms, bar, and buffet (if present).

Determine entertainment choices.

Your choice of entertainment will dictate how flexible you can be with your floor plan, as a venue’s capacity must factor in elements like photo booths, lounge spaces, interactive food stations, and the like. Be mindful that bands typically take up much more room than a DJ (don’t forget about staging and sound equipment!), so keep your venue’s measurements close as you research and create your entertainment plan.

Decide on seating arrangements.

Consider how you want to sit with your partner, as well as how you plan to seat your guests. If you want a head table with your whole wedding party, your floor plan will look different than if you opt for a two-person sweetheart table. The same goes for seating guests at banquet tables vs. round tables. In your seating plan, use the dance floor as the focal point as that’s where the action happens. Do your best to ensure all guests in the room have a good sightline of the dance floor.

Be mindful of COVID guidelines.

Last but certainly not least, keep COVID safety in mind as you prepare your floor plan. Adhere to proper social distancing guidelines to ensure your guests feel safe and comfortable. Identify the high traffic areas—like service routes and bars—and be sure to allow for plenty of space. Consider seating guests in household “pods” with a greater number of smaller tables. Be sure to work alongside your venue coordinator to ensure it will work in their space.

New Press: Woman Getting Married

The wedding industry runs on trends. Kevin shared insight with Woman Getting Married about the shifts he has seen in the industry. particularly when it comes to wedding venues!

Woman Getting Married

Kevin speaks to the growing trend of securing a single venue for a couple’s ceremony and reception. In the past, many couples have booked separate venues. However, the convenience and cost-effectiveness of sticking to one venue wins out!

The future of wedding trends looks bright. Check out the full feature for more advice from wedding experts!

Tipping Etiquette for Wedding Vendors

When planning your big day, it’s easy to get lost in the madness and forget about tipping your wedding vendors. But it’s so important to be respectful of their time and efforts, so it’s best to include gratuity in your wedding budget!

Although tipping is not required, some vendors may expect it — and likely deserve it. It is a great way to thank them for their superb service bringing your wedding day to life!

If you need guidance on whom to tip and how much to give, read on. 

tipping

Tipping Etiquette 101

Here’s a breakdown of gratuity to include for each wedding vendor.

Officiant

Many ordained clergy members won’t accept cash tips for officiating wedding ceremonies. However, a donation to their church or religious institution is greatly appreciated. For a non-religious officiant, you can give them around $50.  

Photographer and videographer

A lot of these vendors are business owners themselves, so tipping is often unnecessary. But if you’re incredibly happy with their work, feel free to give a generous tip of up to $100 (or more if you’re that satisfied!). If they have assistants or second-shooters, you can tip them anywhere from $50 to $75.

Caterer and waitstaff

While a service fee is often stipulated in your contract, this amount is typically divided amongst all the waitstaff. It’s a kind gesture to give them $10 to $20 each for their hard work. If bartending services aren’t part of your caterer’s package, tip 10% to 15% of the pre-tax bar bill.  

Hair and Makeup Artists

Just as you would for a regular hair or makeup appointment, tip makeup artists and hairstylists 20% of the total bill.

Musicians and DJs

A tip between $25 and $50 per person is customary. And, if you book a band, remember to tip their sound technician as well!

Driver, Valet, Restroom, and Coat Check Attendants

If gratuity is not yet included in your transportation bill, tip your driver 15-20% of the total cost. For valet attendants, express your gratitude by tipping $1-2 per car, to be divided among them. And for the total amount to be allocated for your restroom and coat check attendants, multiply the number of guests by $0.50 to $2.  

Wedding planner and florist

Since these vendors are typically business owners, they won’t be expecting a tip from you. If you are feeling generous, feel free to tip your wedding planner 10-20% of the total bill, or up to $500. Your florist may be tipped 10-15% of your total bill. If you prefer, you can also give them personal gifts instead.

Delivery Personnel

On your wedding day, you can expect a lot of deliveries—from your rentals to your wedding cake and flowers. Leave cash envelopes containing $5 to $10 to your coordinator or catering manager to hand out to delivery personnel.

 

Keep in mind that these numbers are only meant to serve as a guide. Ultimately, you should tip according to what your budget permits and the level of service you’ve received.

WeddingWire

New Press: WeddingWire

Awesome seeing Kevin featured in this informative roundup on WeddingWire! He’s speaking about what to do if your ideal vendor isn’t available for your wedding date.

WeddingWire

We are in a wedding boom unlike ever before, so this insight is invaluable for couples planning their weddings in 2021, 2022, and beyond. Tune into WeddingWire for the full scoop!

Make the Most of Your Wedding Photo Booth

Adding a photo booth to your wedding is a wonderful way to enhance the guest experience with an interactive element that is sure to keep people engaged all night long. Plus, it’s a fun way to send everyone home with tokens from your big day. (Not to mention, you’ll have all the fun photos to look back on with your partner!)

photo booth

If you’re booking a photo booth for your special day, be sure to make the most of it with these tips!

Match your photo booth to your wedding theme.

Whether you’re hosting a black-tie gala-inspired bash or a rustic-chic celebration, your photo booth should be on-brand with the rest of your wedding decor! Consider how you can infuse your wedding theme into the backdrop, as well as the print photos. Most printouts can include a customizable monogram with your wedding date for an extra splash!

 

Provide plenty of photo booth props.

What’s a photo booth without props? Providing guests with silly props encourages them to really lean into the experience! From goofy accessories (like bowties and hats) to funny signs, don’t be shy! Many photo booth providers will include a set of props, but feel free to bring your own cheekiness to play and add your own touch.

 

Give guests a way to show off their pics.

There’s a good chance that your wedding photo booth will be a popular station for the whole night, so there will be plenty of great pictures coming from it! Consider creating a space for guests to post a copy of their photo strips. A frame with hanging clothespins, a chalkboard with magnets, or a pretty photo album are all great choices! Your guests will be able to flip through and see what everyone else has done. Plus, you’ll get to take those keepsakes home!

 

A memorable guest experience is all about engaging attendees with interactive elements, and photo booths are one of the best ways to do just that! Ready, set, cheese!

elizabeth anne designs

New Press: Elizabeth Anne Designs

New press alert! We’re delighted to see Kevin included in this fun roundup on Elizabeth Anne Designs about the wedding traditions to keep and the ones to let go!

elizabeth anne designs

Kevin speaks to the freedom of limiting toasts at a wedding for the sake of the event timeline. Check out the full feature for more wedding tradition insights!

5 Considerations for Choosing an Emcee

When planning an event, most people focus on the food, venue, and entertainment. However, let’s not forget that the guests’ experience throughout the celebration is what they’ll remember most! If there’s one expense you shouldn’t skimp on, it’s hiring a professional DJ who can also serve as an effervescent emcee.

Choosing the right emcee not only ensures that everything stays on schedule, but that the crowd is engaged and enjoying themselves all night long!

Here are some valuable tips on what to look for when hiring an emcee:

 

Excellent delivery is key

You don’t want an emcee who mumbles to themself onstage. Instead, your emcee should be an effective communicator: someone who is able to project their voice, maintain eye contact and engage with your audience. And, of course, they should sound enthusiastic to keep the energy of the room high!

 

Choose a good listener

Nothing holds the attention of a crowd better than good banter. An emcee isn’t a keynote speaker; they should know how to listen to the audience and invite them to respond. So, remember to look for someone who is not only a good speaker but can also pick up on interesting dialogue opportunities. 

 

They should be prepared for anything and everything

Your emcee should have a clear understanding of the planned structure and itinerary of the event so they are ready to keep things flowing no matter what. There will be moments when they will need to improvise. During lulls in the program, like technical glitches or waiting for the next toast, they will have to work the crowd to maintain the energy. A good emcee also does research on the details of the event, like special audience members that need to be recognized during the program or the pronunciation of important names.

 

Find an emcee who is mindful of the time

One of the key responsibilities of an emcee is to ensure that the event starts and ends on time, which means they need excellent time management skills. If one segment goes on for longer or shorter than expected, they should be aware and be able to adapt as needed.

 

A great sense of humor is a must!

There’s nothing worse than a boring emcee! You want someone who can brighten up the room and keep the crowd engaged with funny anecdotes and jokes. Trust me, when you make sure your guests have a great time, they will remember the event for years to come.

 

And there you have it! We’ve rounded up five qualities to look out for when choosing an emcee. Remember: your emcee is one of your greatest assets. They can make or break your event, so choose wisely!

Photo of the Week: Luxury Wedding Vibes

This week, we’re bringing you a luxury wedding fit for royalty! Leon and Mari were certainly serving king and queen vibes with their all-white design.

Between beautiful white florals, a raised ceremony platform, and our sparkling crystal beaded chandelier, we loved seeing Casa Real transformed for their sweet celebration!

fall wedding

Fall Wedding Trends to Know in 2021

With autumn in the air, it’s time to shift our summer mindsets to appreciate the beauty of a picture-perfect fall wedding.

fall wedding

Cooler temps, falling leaves, and a whole new vibe to work with make it easy to host a fall wedding to remember! Here are the key trends to know as we head into the harvest season.

 

Rich color palettes

Burgundy, gold, orange, brown, purple — many couples find inspiration for their fall wedding in nature and we are here for it! Paired with lush greenery, wood textures, and other natural elements, using a fall-themed color palette makes for a lovely design. Consider using some soft uplighting or dynamic gobo washes to add an extra special touch that levels up the vibe.

 

Cozy bonfires

With the pandemic lingering, outdoor weddings remain the go-to choice for engaged couples in 2021. And what’s a fall wedding without a roaring bonfire to gather ’round? Perfect for roasting marshmallows, sipping hot cocoa, and cozying up with loved ones! Consider adding some soft textures to the seating arrangement. Think chunky knit blankets or cashmere scarves for guests — a sweet way to show your guests a great time.

 

Weekday weddings

Thanks to a year’s worth of postponed events, the industry is experiencing a wedding boom keeping calendars packed for months. For those wanting to tie the knot in the near future, weekday weddings have become an excellent way to fit their nuptials into a busy schedule! It’s not just convenient, though. Weekday weddings are also a cost-effective alternative to the average weekend wedding. Plus, it’s the perfect excuse to extend your celebration into the weekend with group activities for guests who want to stick around!

 

Micro-nuptials

Less is more; at least, that’s how it’s trending in the wedding industry! Couples are trimming down their guest lists and, with it, realizing the possibilities that open up with a smaller wedding. Since your budget goes further with fewer guests, you can invest more into the elements that matter most. Unique venues, upgraded food + beverage choices, elevated design + décor, and more face time with guests — there are many benefits to micro-weddings!

starburst chandelier

Photo of the Week: Glittering Starburst Chandelier

Be still our hearts — our starburst chandelier really showed out for this sweet Indian wedding at Casa Real!

A custom monogrammed dance floor. Floor-to-ceiling taffeta drapery behind a mandap bursting with blooms. A glittering starburst chandelier to catch everyone’s eye. Lush centerpieces bursting with bold colors. These are the ingredients for a wedding dream come true!

Event Services Showcase

REMINDER: Event Services Showcase is BACK!

Have you signed up for our Event Services Showcase yet? It’s just around the corner, so you have just over a week to register and join us for our first showcase back in action! Come out to meet the Fantasy Sound team and learn more about the products and services we provide to bring your event to life.

Event Services Showcase

Next Wednesday, we’re hosting three sessions:

  • 6:30 p.m.
  • 7:30 p.m.
  • 8:30 p.m.

Check out our renowned lighting fixtures in their full glory, pop into our photo booth and say cheese, and get to know the folks who will turn your dream into a reality.

I’m in! Sign me up!

Looking to connect one-on-one? Let’s do it!
You can schedule a personal consultation from Tuesday through Friday between 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Saturdays between 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. We also have appointments available on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Get in touch with us to schedule your consultation.

Photo of the Week: Flawless First Dance

The first dance is a monumental moment of a wedding day, and it’s only right to have the perfect dance floor to fit it!

first dance

This beautiful couple transformed Casa Real with an elevated dance floor, crystal chandeliers, and a sweetheart lounge that is just bursting with blooms. How’s that for a perfect setting to dance away into your happily ever after?