Tuesday, December 29, 2009

novi nuptials

october 10, 2009 was a cold, rainy day, but the weather perked up just in time for a beautiful october 11 wedding, full of rich, fall colors and a delighted wedding couple.

we added a lot of personal touches to mindy and shawn's wedding.  since the couple is really into the outdoors, we used a lot of earthy elements, from a moss and river rock escort card table, to wooden bowls that held wispy willow branches and decadent assortments of fall flowers.  mindy's veil incorporated pieces of her mother's veil, the chuppah was hand-made by the bride's godmother, and the groom's father became ordained and performed the ceremony. 

mindy and shawn even had mini bride and groom cake toppers made to match their outfits, including shawn's green tie.

before the ceremony, the couple braved the cold outdoors for some fabulous photos reflecting the beautful michigan foliage, and even posed for a few art deco shots in the restaurant's wine room!

the two danced the night away with family and friends, and guests got to take home souvenir photo-booth photos!

venue: crowne plaza novi, michigan
catering: matt prentice

Sunday, December 20, 2009

who puts the "zen" in "citizen"?

these sassy geriatrics do! 

december 5 marked the second IONA Senior Services-sponsored performance of http://www.youngatheartchorus.com/ - a senior band and chorus that will knock your socks off.  cold, blizzardy weather could not keep the crowds away from this one-night only performance at the warner theatre.  even the littlest fans got to meet the celebs, and loved every minute of it!

photos courtesy of sadrea muhammad

Saturday, October 31, 2009

hot jazz for a cool night

big band jazz was in full swing at rose hill manor on october 23, in celebration of loudoun volunteer caregivers' fundraising gala.  about 100 guests enjoyed dancing, cocktails, and hors d'oeuvres at the mansion, while bidding on fun silent auction items.

Friday, October 23, 2009


what's not to love about these adorable baby shower cupcakes...

...to go with this fun mimosa bar?!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

rsvp is weddingwire rated!

WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, has just announced that rsvp event planning and management is officially WeddingWire Rated 2009! WeddingWire created the annual Rated program to honor wedding professionals like rsvp event planning and management, for their excellence and to help brides and grooms easily find the right wedding professionals to match their needs.

“We are excited to unveil WeddingWire Rated 2009, now in its third year. With hundreds of thousands of reviews, WeddingWire has made it easy for engaged couples to find the nation’s very best wedding professionals,” according to Sonny Ganguly, WeddingWire’s Chief Marketing Officer. “WeddingWire Rated is an excellent way for businesses to showcase their continued success in the wedding industry.”

rsvp event planning and management currently has three reviews with a top rating of 5.0, making it eligible to hold the Rated title on the WeddingWire Network. Each review has been written by a former client and includes detailed ratings and insightful descriptions of their experiences with our services. These reviews not only enhance our credibility, but also help differentiate our business within the WeddingWire Network.

rsvp event planning and management would like to thank our past brides and grooms for taking the time to review our services on WeddingWire.

If you are a past client of rsvp event planning and management and have yet to provide us with your feedback, please visit reviews.weddingwire.com and review our services today.


Monday, October 5, 2009

calling all grooms: should you get your bride a wedding present?

your future mother-in-law may be making hints at this, and you are probably wondering why you’re being thrown another curveball during the wedding planning process. but, yes, it’s fairly traditional for the bride and groom to exchange wedding gifts. you have probably seen this on tv or in a movie—before the wedding, the bride and groom each has someone deliver their gift to the other person—or, being a guy, maybe you have not seen this! some couples decide to exchange gifts at another time, like the day before the wedding, for example. a lot of couples choose to forego this tradition, having just spent a lot of money on the wedding itself. there is no hard and fast rule here, so feel free to be creative.

what should you get the bride? gifts for the bride usually consist of jewelry, and if you want to be very traditional you can get her diamond earrings or a pearl necklace. but this isn’t 1929 anymore, so some grooms throw tradition to the wayside and choose something more affordable and/or appropriate for the bride, like a first edition of her favorite book or private dance lessons. some choose to get something really meaningful like an embroidered handkerchief or simply a beautiful bouquet of roses and a heartfelt hand-written note, or generally just something the groom knows the bride would really enjoy and appreciate. if all else fails, what about something she can do on the honeymoon, or something you can do together, like scuba lessons, or an extravagant dinner. or better yet, a spa day, so she can unwind from the stress of all that wedding planning!

Friday, June 19, 2009

destination albuquerque: rebekah & sean say i do

after a brief rain delay (this is really good luck in new mexico, which only receives 10 inches of rain per year), rays of sun peeked through the clouds, just as rebekah and sean said their vows before their family and friends (and peacocks) at the gorgeous los poblanos inn and cultural center. after the nuptials, guests gathered in the garden for lemon-lavender martinis, before sitting at long dining tables decorated with monotone floral arrangements in blues and purples and fresh lavender, for a feast under the stars of organic beef and salmon. as an added touch, the tables were dotted with photos of the bride and groom growing up - these foddered conversation among the guests, and got some good laughs.

after dinner, the bride and groom scooped ice cream from taos cow...

...and guests left good wishes for the bride and groom.the party continued late into the evening while everyone danced the night away to cover songs performed by vanilla pop - they put on quite a show, complete with costumes and pencil-thin mustaches!

venue: los poblanos inn and cultural center

catering: los poblanos inn and cultural center

photography: insight foto

flowers: sonrisa blooms

entertainment: vanilla pop

ice cream: taos cow

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

interview with a makeup artist: should a bride hire a makeup artist for her wedding day?

for the inaugural "interview with a vendor" series, rsvp chatted with makeup artist jan scott about the do's and don'ts of wedding day makeup. read on for her tips!

q: should you do your own makeup for your wedding? or should you hire a makeup artist?

a: the key is knowing how the makeup is going to photograph. lines photograph thicker, and colors photograph darker. only a makeup artist or photographer really has insight into this, which is why it is best to hire a makeup artist on your wedding day. if you do not know how your makeup is going to photograph, you could end up looking washed out or overdone. bridal makeup needs some staying power. if you decide to do your own makeup, use a base primer, eyelid primer, and lip primer to help your makeup last longer!

q: how do you choose a makeup artist? what questions should you ask?

a: look for a professional website. take a look at the artist’s portfolio online. do you like what you see? are you comfortable with that person’s style? if you’re at a makeup counter, look at how that person did their own makeup. do you like it? are they able to cover your flaws? do not overlook doing a makeup trial. this is where you will be able to tell if the makeup artist really listens to what you want, and is not consumed with selling you products. the best thing is always to get a recommendation from a friend, colleague, or family member. read reviews - but read them on websites where consumers are not paid to complete them!

q: how much should you expect to pay a makeup artist?

a: in the dc-metro area, a bride can expect to pay between $100 and $200 per application (i.e. for the trial, and for the wedding day).

q: how soon should you make an appointment to ensure the makeup artist is not already booked?

a: if your wedding is during “wedding season” (april, may, june), book early – up to 4 months in advance if you can. good makeup artists are snatched up quickly, and may only do one or two weddings per day, depending on timing and location.

q: how far ahead of time should you do a test run with your makeup artist?

a: any time since you booked him or her. don’t worry if you think you might be tanner by the time your wedding roles around. changing your foundation one or two shades is easy! the makeup trial is really important so do not put it off. it is not an ideal situation for a makeup artist to do your colors on the spot on the day of your wedding, and if you don’t like what he or she does, it will be time consuming and a little difficult to change it. at the trial, however, you’ll be able to play with different colors and make sure the artist really makes you look your best.
things you should discuss with your artist at the trial: what type of dress you’ll be wearing; what are your wedding colors; does your wedding have a theme; what will you be doing with your hair. all these factors play into your makeup style on the big day.

q: if you decide to do your own makeup on your wedding day, what changes should you make from your usual routine?

a: use primer! your makeup will last longer. emphasize either your lips or your eyes, but not both. wear a lipstick color that is a bit brighter than your everyday color; balance your eyes and your lips. choose a lipstick, not just a lip gloss. it is fine to wear a gloss over your lipstick for some added shine, but lip gloss alone may not provide enough coverage, and too much could cause a glare in your photos. blend your foundation color to match your face.

q: what tips do you have for makeup that will photograph well?

a: go easy on the lip gloss and shimmer. these things reflect light and will cause a glare in your photos. and no glitter!

q: what is in style now? do you recommend using a trendy makeup style, or sticking with something more classic?

a: timeless classic is always in style. keep in mind that you will be looking at your wedding photos for years to come. unless you are hosting a themed wedding, you probably won’t want to look back and be reminded of the dramatic eyeliner that was in style, or that cherry red lipstick that was a passing fad. a classic makeup style means no heavy drama – use subtle eye colors, and an eyeliner that is not too thick. soft lashes, a soft blush on your cheeks, and a pretty lipstick will look good forever. if you are dying to wear false eyelashes, go ahead! your makeup artist can help you choose a type that will enhance your eyes without looking overly dramatic.

q: what can you do to ensure you still look like yourself? many brides are afraid of having their makeup done by a professional because they have had bad previous experiences where makeup artists used way too much makeup.

a: speak up! a makeup artist has to know your comfort zone. make sure they are listening to what you want, and are able to make modifications to things you want to change.

q: what regimes should you follow in the weeks leading up to your wedding to help you get perfect skin?

a: know how your skin heals from waxing, facials, etc., and give it enough time to heal properly in the days leading up to your wedding. go easy on salt and caffeine – it makes you bloated and dehydrated. do not pick your blemishes. blemishes are only red because the are swollen. hold an ice cube to the blemish for 10 minutes to reduce swelling and redness. a makeup artist will have a much easier time covering a blemish without any broken skin. if you really have a nasty pimple, you can consider getting a cortisone shot from your dermatologist.

q: should you have your makeup done before or after your hair?

a: have your makeup done after your hair.

q: does it make a difference whether you have your makeup done on site or at a salon?

a: it really makes no difference, as long as there is some natural daylight. if the room is very dark or windowless, let your makeup artist know ahead of time. many makeup artists have special lights they can use to simulate natural light.

q: what is jan’s best kept secret?

a: use under eye concealer all the way up to your lashes and in the corners of your eyes.
give your lips a natural pout by applying a drop of lip gloss in the middle of your bottom lip (after applying lipstick of course). get a lesson from your makeup artist in mascara application - to give yourself the effect of having luscious lashes, you need to deposit mascara color right at the lash line by looking down into a mirror, holding the brush at your eyelash roots, wiggling it back and forth, and then pulling it through your lashes, one small section at a time. once you have done both eyes, go back to the first eye and coat the tips; repeat on the other eye. always use waterproof mascara on your wedding day!

q: what are jan’s must haves?
a: smashbox primer, and YSL touche ├ęclat highlighter – you can put it everywhere!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

vineyard vows: gina & linton say i do

when gina and linton first approached me to help them with their wedding, my heart leaped when they said it would be at a vineyard! who doesn't love a vineyard wedding, right? with only 9 months to plan, gina and i hit the ground running, making several trips up to mt. airy, maryland to visit the venue.

as may 16, the big day, approached, we anxiously checked the weather forecast almost hourly...it was bleak, with rain and thundershowers forecasted all week. but we kept our fingers crossed. with the ceremony and cocktail hour outdoors, we really didn't want all of our planning derailed by a sudden rain storm! the weather was touch and go all day, but the rain held out until gina and linton's 140 guests were safely inside the barnyard reception, dancing the night away.

bright yellow school buses shuttled wedding guests from their hotel in frederick, maryland to the vineyard, which was luscious and green after all the rain. the nuptials went off without a hitch, although both the bride and her father sobbed throughout it! guests dined on delicious appetizers and vineyard wines during the cocktail hour, taking in the special elements of this wedding - a marriage certificate personally designed by a close friend, the bride's bouquet specially arranged by a wedding guest, and a moss-shaped "w" in honor of the couple's last name.

the couple entered the barn for dinner to the tune of when the saints come marching in, played on kazoos by everyone in the room - a surprise entrance crafted by a funny family friend. the reception look was complete with gorgeous gathered flowers arranged in mason jars and birch vase holders. after a delicious meal, guests feasted on a buffet of assorted pies (gina and linton are not cake people!), and then everyone danced their feet off, showcasing their party animal personalities in the photo booth the couple designed.

when the night ended guests dashed through the rain to hop on the yellow school buses back to the hotel!

many thanks to the many vendors who helped make this day so wonderful...

venue: linganore vineyards, mt. airy, md

catering: canapes catering

photography: jill thomas photography (aren't the photos incredible?)

reception flowers: blossoms and baskets

personal flowers: kristy daphnis

ceremony music: kensington park duo

reception music: bialeks music

Sunday, May 10, 2009

the art of caring

april 29 marked IONA senior service's inaugural fundraising luncheon - the art of caring. due to the changing economic environment, and hoping to do something more in line with its mission, IONA turned away from its typical gala, and hosted a luncheon to showcase their expertise - caregiving.
pringtime centerpieces dotted the grand ballroom at the mayflower hotel. fish bowl centers allowed all 285 guests to deposit donations, receiving notecards specially designed by one of IONA's senior artists.senator Claire McCaskill had to bow out of delivering the keynote speech at the last minute as she was invited to visit Missouri, her native state, with President Obama. fortunately everyone was wowed by her excuse, and like she said, it was a much better one than "the dog ate my homework." she was kind enough though to record her comments, which were played on dvd.

after delicious food and a tear-jerking slide show, everyone departed with a goody bag of treats, carrying with them the message that there truly is an art to caregiving!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

favors for the eco-friendly party host

happy earth day! hopefully you're doing your part to plant more trees, turn off lights, and recycle your newspapers, but why not share the wealth with your friends, colleagues, and family members. next time you host an event, consider these as your event favors:this is a colorado spruce tree, but you can find similar items in a variety of trees. they make great favors for weddings, showers, and corporate events, and are especially popular now that every wants to be "green." ask your guests to plant them in their back yards or on their patios.

if you think that your city-dwelling guests might not appreciate your "green" savvy rubbing off on them, get a plantable rosemary cutting instead of a tree. your guests will be able to plant them outside, or even in their kitchens, and will enjoy lots of delicious meals thanks to you!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

a shower like no other

a couple of weeks ago, bride-to-be rebekah celebrated her upcoming nuptuals with a lingerie shower! there was a lot of giggling as the gift-opening portion of the evening began. this was no raunchy affair; although there were a couple of "fun" items, rebekah's friends showered her with some gorgeous and classy lingerie items, making everyone feel like their own lingerie drawers needed some updating.
the cosmos and hors d'oeuvres were a big hit. luckily everyone still had some room for dinner afterwards! best of all, everyone departed with a chocolate-y brownie favor to savor the evening's memories!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


moo cards...what are they? an innovative and creative way to showcase your event or disseminate information at your event. you can choose a variety of photos and written material to use in the same group of items you order - business cards, postcards, invitations, mini cards, and sticker books. there are literally hundreds of uses for moo cards.

to stimulate your creativity, here are 10 of our favorite uses:

10. save the dates - can't choose your favorite photo? upload a variety of fun photos or images on one side of the mini cards, and your save the date information on the other. print different information on each card and then attach a few mini cards on one end with ribbon to showcase the fun details about your event.
9. thank you cards - use your favorite wedding photos to create a variety of thank you note cards to mail to your guests.

8. anxious for your guests to share their photos with you? set up a weblink where everyone can upload their photos to share. put the information on some fun mini cards and scatter them around your event for people to pick up and take home - on the bar, on cocktail tables, near a guest book.

7. can't decide on a theme for your business cards? share your business info on a variety of backgrounds.

6. looking for some creative and personalized bridal shower invitations? upload photos of the bride and groom on one side, and shower details on the other - each guest will receive their very own personalized invite!

5. are you wondering if all your guests will get along? create "table topics" cards with the mini cards by printing a different question or conversational topic on each card - how did the bride and groom meet; is it a boy or girl; what was the guest-of-honor's craziest job? your guests are sure to keep chatting for hours.
4. showcase everything your organization has accomplished by using invitation cards to create event programs. upload photos of your accomplishments and print these on the underside of the program card.

3. print photos of your organization's accomplishments on the greeting cards and mail them to your clients on their birthdays!

2. create holiday cards to mail to your clients. put your favorite organizational photos on them.

1. create personalized stickers to put on your party favors.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

rocking my red pumps for HIV/AIDS awareness day

did you know that there are 1.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the united states? march 10th is national women/girls HIV/AIDS awareness day - show your support by wearing your red pumps!

Monday, February 16, 2009

paint your party

are you looking for a unique way to entertain your guests and at the same time create an incredible keepsake of your event? a live event artist is just the thing! it's a hot new trend at weddings, and makes for great entertainment at other special events as well - think golf outings, galas, VIP soirees.what is a live event artist? essentially, an artist will come to your event, set up a blank canvas, and start painting away. you will meet with the artist ahead of time and designate any important people whom you would like to appear in the artwork. your guests can watch the artist create a masterpiece, and at the end of the event, you get to take home a piece of one-of-a-kind artwork to display in your home, office, or wherever you like!

the picture above was created by laura swytak in seattle, but live event artists are growing in popularity and you will be able to find a great one in your area as well. the pieces often take anywhere from 3 to 5 hours to create, and come in standard sizes of 36x24 or 48x30 inches, although many artists will create custom sizes as well. artistic viewpoints vary widely, so be sure to interview the artists you connect with and choose one who's style is most representative of your own. these masterpieces can cost anywhere upwards of $1,000, but if that's too steep for your event budget, consider finding a local art student who would barter his talent for a free meal!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

pearls for the elegant bride

surprisingly, many brides invest a lot of time and money in their wedding style, but then don't know where to get started in choosing jewelry for the special occasion. if you are a bride looking for something classic and elegant to compliment your wedding gown, look no further! Andrea D'Ambrosia, who has been designing jewelry for years, recently launched a new line exclusively for brides. either choose a piece from her portfolio, or have her custom design a piece for you. best of all, all of her pieces are affordable! after the big day, have her modify your "something new" so that you can wear it again and again!

save the date

save the date for the IONA Senior Services "art of caring" luncheon on wednesday, april 29 at the mayflower. senator Claire McCaskill will be the keynote speaker, and Ellen Proxmire will be the recipient of an honoree award. more information will become available on IONA's website.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

40 and fabulous!

laurita celebrated a fantastic 40th birthday last weekend at dc coast. highlights of the glitzy affair included green laurita-tinis, and a retro candy buffet featuring laurita's favorites from her kid-years. we had so much fun working with laurita to create a whimsical candy land with a touch of sophistication. she and her guests were all adults after all. candy buttons anyone?

guests indulged in late-night snacks like mini sliders, and celebrated with a champagne toast and a delicious lemon and raspberry cake from Just Cakes.

as the night went on, laurita's guests got crazy over some skittles! there was plenty of fun dip to go around. great times were had by all!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

is the blog the new wedding website?

i've had a lot of questions recently from brides who are interested in setting up their very own wedding websites, but are disappointed by either a) the lack of customization on some of the free sites like theknot.com, or b) the expense of some of the grander sites like weddingwindow.com. what's a bride to do? especially in this economy, where she would rather spend her hard-earned cash on beautiful ranuncula centerpieces for her tented reception, than on a single wedding website that great aunt sally may not have access to anyway.

the solution? inspired by one of my current brides, create a wedding blog! check out gina's site as an example. try using blogger.com to set it up. also check out this tutorial for a step-by-step guide on how to make your blog look and act like a website!

your blog will be easy to use, much more personal than a website, and you'll have your guests checking in much more regularly as they eagerly await much anticipated details of your wedding day. best of all, it won't cost you a thing and you'll have an extra few bucks to toast your honey with champagne over views of the eiffel tower! mais oui!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

happy new year

it's a new year, and with the new year come new trends, new events, and new blogs! stay tuned and check back often for highlights about our ongoing events.