Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton to Wed: 29th April, 2011.

Clarence House has announced today that Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton will wed on Friday, 29th April, 2011 at Westminster Abbey. The couple wanted a spring wedding and choose the Abbey as they considered it ‘intimate’ and ‘like a chapel’ despite its enormous size. A ‘special’ bank holiday has been approved by the PM (as we anticipated) which means a long weekend celebration for Britain. The couple are said to be planning a very traditional ceremony to show Britain at its best and are over the moon.

We anticipate a very busy weekend at Hannah Michael and for wedding planners. What do you think?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

2011: A Royal Wedding

Everyone is buzzing with the news of Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton, now to be known as Catherine. The couple will be getting married sometime next year in London. A long awaited engagement most people have said including the Prince of Wales and the Queen! The happy couple is swamped by well-wishers and off course the media and everyone are speculating on every single details - When exactly the wedding will take place – May, June or July? Where the wedding will take place, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral or somewhere more private? Who will be attending the wedding? Who will design the wedding dress? How much the wedding will cost? Who will be paying for the wedding? Every single detail is currently being speculated!

At Hannah Michael, we are very happy with the announcement and congratulate the lovely couple on their engagement. Kate reported that the proposal which happened in Africa, Prince William's second home was indeed romantic - we love that as we are hopeless romantics, we simply love weddings! Also, with Kate set to become a fashion icon, we anticipate she will most definitely set the trend that most bride will want to infuse into their big day in 2011.  We are most definitely looking out for these trends.

Also as wedding planners, we are also keen to know the details of this forthcoming royal wedding especially the date and venue as we have to consider the following for our clients getting married on or around the same day as the royal couple:

  1. William and Kate’s big day may be the most watched royal wedding since that of Charles and Diana in 1981 and so we will need to take this into account for guests who might be interested in watching part of this wedding.
  2. Travel logistics will need to be thoroughly planned out for guests and vendors for that day as there might be road closures and diverted traffic. It might also be impossible to travel in and around certain areas especially if it is on a weekday.
  3. There might be price hikes on some items or the availability of certain items e.g. a particular type of bloom/flower. Items availability might change for that period if huge orders have been made for royal wedding, this will deplete supply.
  4. Most vendors will like to be part of this anticipated monumental wedding. We will need to ensure that adequate arrangements are in place for cancellations or any unexpected emergencies. Booked vendors might cancel if called upon to be part of this wedding.
  5. Extra time will need to be factored into every aspect of the day. We might need to adjust planned timeline.
  6. Also, there are talks of a public holiday being declared on the day.  If this is the case, we will have to ensure that this doesn't affect any of our supplier's availability and also prices.

 We wish the future King and the future Queen-in-waiting, all the happiness and the very best for the future.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chairs and Tables

At Hannah Michael we always strive to do things differently. We really do not like cookie cutter events; we believe that no two events should ever be exactly the same. Whenever, we start brainstorming for an event, I always tell my clients to ‘forget’ their perceptions of what an event/wedding should ‘look’ like. We start on a journey that is completely about them and no one else; we flesh out their design on a blank canvas.

Being a planner as well as a designer, one area of an event that I am passionate about is the Décor. Let us look at different elements of a décor that can be maximized and effectively used to set your event apart from the rest….Let’s kick off with chairs and tables.

Chairs and Tables
Chairs and tables are the most abundant (and important) element in a room at any event. They come in various shapes, colors and sizes. What you do with these will set your event apart.

Tables can be dressed in linens or/runners; fabrics are a good way to introduce the type of texture you want for your event. They can also be left undressed. There are millions of fabrics available in almost any color, design and shade you want. Whatever you decide to do will depend on your personal style and the theme of your event/ wedding. Here are a few tips:

  • For round tables, use round table linens; for rectangular tables use rectangular or square linens. Check the table size and use the correct linen drop. For example, for a 72” round table, use 132” linen for the right drop, for an 8” rectangular banquet table, use 132” linen. For formal events, it is recommended that linens hang to the floor.
  • Be adventurous; introduce your colors and texture through your linens or/ runners and napkins. Colored and/or designed linens add richness to the environment and your decor…plain white linens used alone, has no character. They should be used with an overlay or an accented chair.
  • Think about the flow of your day when arranging the layout. The general rule of thumb for sit down dinner is to allow approximately 8 to 10 square feet per person. A 48 inch table will seat 6 people, while a 54 inch table can accommodate 6 to 8 people. A 60 inch and 72 inch table will seat 10 to 12 people. You can estimate about 4 to 5 feet between tables to allow for enough movement.
Chairs can either be left uncovered. Chiavari chairs are elegant and come in different colored cushions and wood.
Or accented.

Or can be fully covered, especially if the chairs are in a bad condition or of a different color to the color scheme.

At HM, we try to encourage our clients to move away from using plain chair covers (with colored sashes).  These give a generic look and also really don’t reflect individual styles and personalities.
At Hannah Michael we source and work with designers to create the perfect linens for each event.  We advise clients and other event planners on linen selections and offer options based on individual budgets.   The following photos show how the use of fabrics can transform your event space and give you the wow factor you want.

The following design by Jennifer Sandy-Rose of Salt Harbor Designs http://saltharbor.squarespace.com/, photographed by http://www.millieholloman.com/ show how chivari chairs, wooden tables with table runners and napkins have been used to create an amazing table setting for a natural look.

The possibilities are endless; if you can dream it, we can create it at Hannah Michael.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chelsea’s Perfect Day!

We promised to post details of Chelsea and Marc’s wedding as they emerge. At Hannah Michael, we keep our promise; here are some of the details of the fabulous wedding which took place on the 31st of July, 2010 at the Astor Courts estate in Rhinebeck, N.Y.

The day and the days surrounding it, was all about Marc and Chelsea and not, as they could have been, about networking. The nearly 500 wedding guests were friends and people who have been meaningful in Chelsea and Marc’s lives. The guests list was strictly theirs; no Hollywood A- listers.

Chelsea, 30, was radiant in a strapless silk organza gown designed by Vera Wang. It had a long train, full veil, and crystals on the belt which was an apt metaphor for the whole affair – timeless and classic, with a little bit of sparkle. Marc wore a Christopher Bailey Tux.

Despite a procession of 12 bridesmaids in lavender Vera Wang gowns and 12 groomsmen decked out in Burberry ties, “The wedding didn’t feel lavish or over-the-top, says a guest, somehow it seemed intimate.”

The inter-faith ceremony (the bride is Methodist and the groom’s family are conservative Jews) took place on a grass field, under a chuppah, a canopy, with a lot of organic flowers: limelight hydrangeas, white roses, green parrot tulips. Jeff Leatham was the florist.

For dinner the guests chose between arctic char, braised short ribs and a vegetarian dish. According to People magazine, the wedding cake which was the dessert was a 4ft tall 9 tiered gluten-free masterpiece of vanilla sponge, layered with dark chocolate mousse and decorated with about 1,000 sugar flowers; roses, calla lilies and orchids. It took Maarten and Frances Steenman, owners of La Tulipe Desserts in Mount Kisco, N.Y. a month of prep.
Steenmans and their team assembled the 500-lb cake in a single 48 hour shift said Frances: “we’d go home, take a little nap and then get going again.”

Chelsea changed into an ivory tulle Vera Wang dress with a “sexy back” for their sultry first dance choreographed by Dancing with the Stars pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy.

At midnight guests were ushered into a nightclub tent with two bars and snacks of sliders and tacos, for more dancing. After 4a.m. Marc scooped his bride in his arms and carried her off into the night to begin their wonderful life together.

We, at HM, wish the happy couple the very best of married life.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Our Wilmington, NC experience!

We are always looking for ways of doing things differently at Hannah Michael. We love to experience new trends and to improve, develop and broaden our knowledge and skills.

Last February, I participated in a 5 day workshop for Event Planners in Wilmington, North Carolina.  It was a wonderful experience. Wilmington is a beautiful town, full of charming history and it's premier location make it one of the most beautiful cities in the South.

Jennifer Sandy-Rose, owner of Salt Harbor Design organised the workshop around a weekend when they had both a wedding and an open house/bridal show.  We all had such a wonderful time. To read more about our experience, click on Salt Harbor Design and select blog.

The bridal show took place at Orton Plantation Gardens, a historic landscape designed around the 1735 mansion and colonial rice fields over looking the Cape Fear River.  With 20 acres of secluded walking trails surrounded by hundreds of acres of rice fields, it is a wonderful, breaktaking venue.

The show/open house was set up in a different format which was refreshing.  Each Event Planner had a tent of their own, set apart from one another.  Each Planner had in their tent, all their preferred vendors and so potential clients had the Planner's trusted vendors - photographers, dj, caterer, paper products designer, florist, and so on, all the same place at the same time! Also, I found it interesting that vendors were not allowed to visit other tents; potential clients were free to make their decisions on which Planner to sign on based on what they saw. 

Hundreds of participants visited the show, it was really a fun day!  For photos, go to our galleries.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Choosing your Wedding Dress

Hannah Michael offers an unrivalled styling experience for the Bride, Groom and the rest of the wedding party. We help you source or plan your outfits if you so desire, we get involved to ensure they coordinate the entire theme, colour, mood, texture and ambience of the wedding. We are meticulously detailed.

Below are some of our tips for shopping and picking that perfect wedding dress.
  • First of all, it is important that you shop with an open mind. There are so many dresses in different styles out there to suit all different body shapes and sizes, and remember everything looks different on than it does on a hanger.
  • Start looking for your dress approximately six months before your wedding. This will allow time for dress fittings and alterations.
  • Do not go to more then 4-5 shops otherwise confusion will take over! Plus you want to be able to enjoy the whole shopping experience. Go to a shop that stocks a variety of designers and styles. Remember your dress should match the theme of your wedding – for a Vintage themed wedding, get a vintage styled dress and accessories, for a beach wedding, it might be very tricky to walk on high heels!
  • Bring along an honest family member or friend who you know you can trust to tell you the truth, last thing you want is for someone to tell you everything looks great when in actual fact it is unflattering or you don’t even feel comfortable in it yourself.
  • Do not forget to shop for the right undergarment - Ardyss Body Magic products are fantastic body shapers should you need one for that perfect fit (for more information on this product, please contact us or visit www.ardysslife.com/hannahmichael).
  • Finally, finding the right dress for you is like finding your groom, you’ll know when it is ‘the one’!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Choosing your Photographer

At Hannah Michael, we refer vendors because we believe in the quality of their products and the quality of service these companies provide. We try very hard to guide our clients to the people who will provide them the best possible service at an outstanding value, but some clients book vendors who are not on our preferred vendor list. So this is our guide to picking the right Photographer for your special event.

Photography is an all encompassing term used for all types of image capture but there are in fact distinct variations in the manner in which photography is approached in different genres. Different genres of photography require a different style and perspective. The techniques used by photographers vary based on the subject, the situation and the end use of the image or scene.

  • Identify the style and print of photography that appeal to you most. Identify your budget and the size of your party. Identifying the key things will help you narrow down your options e.g. if you are planning a big event and you will like both Traditional and Reportage shots, it will be wise to engage a company that can provide more than one photographer on site for proper coverage, this will invariably cost more.
  • Based on your identified needs, narrow down your options to the best three (3) companies that meet ALL your criteria. To avoid getting overwhelmed and confused, limit your options!
  • Check out the photographer’s online portfolio as well as the finished products included in the package they are offering. There are many types of albums available and you want to be sure of the quality of the photography, as well as the quality of the design and make of the album they produce.
  • The best photographers are capable of consistently producing great results in all types of lighting situations from the morning to evening celebrations so ask if it is possible to see a full wedding shoot from start to finish. This is better than seeing the 'best of' portfolio.
  • Preparation is important – ask your photographer to have a site visit of your venue, to run through the schedule and plan the formal family group shots. The more time spent planning this with your photographer, the less chaos there will be on the day...ensuring a swift and smooth family photo session.
  • Arrange to meet with your photographer before your big day. The success of the photos depend on how relaxed and confident you feel with the person, and considering they will be with you for most of the day, it's important you feel comfortable with them.
  • Relax and enjoy the photography experience - your photographer will give you some direction to get the best from you on the day with some helpful hints and advice. Take all these suggestions on board...one good tip is to remember to smile with your eyes not just your mouth - a genuine feeling of happiness shows in the photos!
  • Finally, remember only your photos will capture and store memories of your special event. Only the best will do!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A £2million bill for Bill!

Lovely caption by the London Metro Newspaper of Wednesday, July 28, 2010 regarding the upcoming, highly anticipated wedding of Chelsea Clinton, 30 to her Wall Street financier fiancé Marc Mezvinsky, 32. It’s no surprise that the wedding is being kept super-secret. Chelsea who never gives interviews, we hear, has sown everyone to secrecy. Having such famous and high-powered parents – former US President, Bill Clinton and former First Lady and current Senator Hillary Clinton, details about the super-bash are slowly starting to leak out. According to London Metro, the estimated 400 wedding invites will include Tony Blair, Steven Spielberg, Sting and Barbara Streisand. Boston-based Bryan Rafanelli is the Wedding Planner.

Included in the wedding bill is a Glass-walled air-conditioned tents and £10,000 mobile toilets. No expense is being spared for the wedding of the year of this only child. Dad better find his chequebook! We are looking so looking forward to the details of this wedding extraordinaire. Watch out for our future posting on this.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Choosing your Venue

Following the response we have received on our tips for picking a wedding cake, we will be offering more tips to help you make the right decisions regarding different aspects of your celebrations. Here are some tips on picking that ‘perfect’ venue.

  • Firstly, don’t be in a hurry to choose a venue. Your venue should match your style, fit the number of guests you are hosting, fit the sort of entertainment you want for your celebration, have the right access you want for your vendors, fit the flow of your day amongst others. Before deciding on a venue, you need to sit down and make a checklist of what sort of venue is appropriate for your celebration. If you choose the wrong venue, it might cost you more to design it to your style.
  • Don’t get lost in choosing something to impress or out do your guests. A wedding or special event is personal and should reflect you.
  • Don’t choose a venue, especially within the UK, simply for its outside grounds. The weather is the one thing you cannot control or plan for even with the best weather forecast. If you choose a venue because of its grounds and it does rain, you will be stuck inside!
  • Check for restrictions! Most venues will not allow anything on their walls, dancing with high heels or external vendors. Some venues have sound meters, bar restrictions – really, the list goes on. You need to read the small prints and ensure that the venue fits perfectly with the type of celebration you are planning.
  • Remember your budget. Do not forget that other elements add on such as flowers, linens, draping, lighting, sound, staging etc to the final cost to the final production. For example if you choose a historic Palace with high ceilings you’ll need to fill the space with something and that will eat into your budget.
  • Also consider logistics. This is very important. You want your guest to have an overall enjoyable experience. If you are expecting out of town guests, consider a venue with accommodation or nearby hotels and offer different accommodation types and budgets. Also ensure you provide little bits that they will need. If your ceremony will be off site make sure it’s no longer than 20 minutes away by car… no one really wants to travel too long from a ceremony – especially if it’s a hot summer’s day!
  • Ensure no renovation or construction will be going on during your event.
  • Book your venue on time; the best venues really don’t wait around especially if you are planning your event during peak season and over the weekend.
  • Do not forget to check and test the ventilation system. You do not want your Ice Sculpture melting or your guests fanning themselves because the air conditioning system is not functioning or guest freezing due to little or no heating. Check that these systems can be regulated to suit your room especially where a central system exist.
  • This might sound obvious but check and test that the ovens work properly especially if you are planning to hire outdoor caterers. You do not want your dinner cooking forever!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tips on Picking a Wedding Cake

  • You can never have a big enough cake, the bigger the more grand. Big is beautiful in wedding cake world. The cake should always stand out during your reception. You can add height through dummy tiers, columns or even flowers in between each tier. Make a statement with the size of your cake, your cake has to be very visible. However, if you really want something not so big, it needs to be a little bit dramatic. Your wedding cake has to be seen and remembered.
  • Sounds basic but arrange a tasting. The look of the cake is important especially the finishing but don’t just go on how your cake looks – how does it taste? A cake tasting session is a great way to explore the many different options and flavours available, the choice and varieties are huge. Each tier can be a different flavour, something for everyone.
  • Nothing is grander than a shinning cake stand. As well as adding height it should also complement your cake style – a wow cake needs a gold cake stand, white for a more contemporary English feel and silver for all round class. Don’t forget to get a matching cake knife, the little details matter!
  • Cupcakes are everywhere. However, I’m not tired of them (just yet). Nothing could be prettier then a fabulous cake stand filled with various colours and designs of cupcakes. They can also double up as gift favours for your guests!
  • Striking colours and stylish monograms are a huge trend for cakes in 2010. Whether its edible painted ruffles, lace or flowers –the details matter!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Food for thought

I saw two programmes a while ago on weddings: 3 Grand Weddings on Sky Wedding TV and Four Weddings on Living TV.  Both programmes featured  a Nigerian couple. For the Four Weddings, each bride had to attend and judge each others weddings based on set criteria which included presentation. On both programmes. Each bride had to present their day, talk about budgets, dresses, venues, food basically every detail of their big day. The Nigerian bride’s presentation was hilarious.Personally, I didn’t find any of it funny, if anything, I found it really embarrassing. In my opinion, the Nigerian food was poorly presented.

Nigeria is blessed with abundant resources. The country has countless cuisines, excellent chefs naturally blessed with amazing culinary skills, so many delicacies. Most of our Chefs have no formal training but are naturally gifted with amazing cooking skills. I will be the first to agree that some of our food can be considered unhealthy, highly over cooked and badly presented,  I can argue that our cuisines can be sort after like the Tikka Masalas and Thai curries. We just need to adapt our cooking to appeal to a wider audience. On the Four Weddings programme, the Nigerian bride to be described ‘Tripe’ as ‘Intestine’, that description most definitely will put anyone off!  A good description helps stimulate the taste bud, for instance, if I simply say ‘Jellof Rice’ that might not appeal much to many but by adding ‘Rice cooked in spicy tomatoes sauce with herbs’ that might challenge your audience to at least want to try the food out.

So what are we doing wrong? What are we not getting right? Indian foods are spicy, Chinese food is not the most healthy yet we all clamour for them. I think the major turnoff really is how our food is presented. For the food tasting sessions, the food courses presented by the caterer for the Nigerian bride was appalling. On the wedding day, the food service which was a buffet style service, was also badly presented - this was an opportunity to set up the buffet area as part of the decor.

Nigerian caterer need to improve on food design and display, there is a saying that says “the eyes eats before the mouth…” I totally agree and believe that the traditional Nigerian food can be healthy,  as it is cooked with a lot of fresh vegetables which makes it very nutritious and it can compete with other cuisines worldwide.

At Hannah Michael, we are passionate about food, service and presentation.  We offer bespoke and a la carte menus designed and delivered in the style that will wow your guests and that is uniquely you.