Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Danielle and Matt- a details video

Check out this great video from Maple Loft! Danielle and Matt had great weather last July and we really enjoyed looking back on these details. Thanks to Claris Photography for the fabulous pictures as well! Both vendors are members of the MY KPW family!


Check out Maple Loft
Check out Claris Photography

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Calligraphy- what you need to know

We have worked with some very talented calligraphers over the past several years and have had the pleasure of meeting some fresh new faces recently as well. It made me think about how many clients actually know about calligraphy and how beautiful and affective it can be to incorporate its cost into your overall paper products budget. Today we will review where you can use a calligrapher and the costs involved. Yes, you don't have to spend any money to have someone else write everything out for you but that can take hours and hours and your time is very valuable, so you might want to consider a calligrapher!

Calligraphy: n. the art of writing beautifully

There are a few ways to calligraph using different nibs- yes that's a technical term. Depending on the type of font, a calligrapher will use a different nib to create a thinner, more flourished font or a thicker, more chiseled font. Some fonts are so thin and delicate that an ink well can't be used and a calligrapher will use an actual pen to create the lines of the font.

Here are some examples of calligraphy in a more chiseled font:

The above two calligraphy samples provided by Calligraphy by Jennifer

Here's an example of a thin font that Jan has created:

The above three calligraphy samples provided by Jan Boyd Calligraphy

These simpler fonts would be great for a more casual wedding reception or maybe even a rehearsal dinner invitation.

For a more traditional, formal font, take a look at these options:

The above two calligraphy samples provided by Calligraphy by Jennifer

The above two calligraphy samples provided by Jan Boyd Calligraphy

The above the calligraphy samples provided by Ted Clausen Calligraphy

You can hire a calligrapher to take care of the following items:

Addressing Save the Dates
Addressing Invitations
Custom Invitations- they create one calligraphed invitation and send your printer a printable version
Place Cards
Escort Cards
Table Numbers
Addressing Thank You Cards
Specialty Signs- well wishes containers, signature drink menus
Custom Favor Tags
Custom Programs- they create one calligraphed program and send your printer a printable version
Custom Menus- they create one calligraphed menu and send your printer a printable version

Cost for each of these items greatly depends on each calligrapher, how many years experience they have, and usually the style of font you select. Here's a ballpark of what you might expect to pay for each of the above items:

Addressing Save the Dates-$1.25-$10.00 a piece for outer envelopes
Addressing Invitations- $1.25-$10.00 for the outer envelope, $3.00-$15.00 for outer and inner envelope sets
Custom Invitations- most calligraphers will charge a single flat fee of anywhere from $50-$150.00 for this artwork
Place Cards/Escort Cards- $.75-$1.95 depending on if the calligrapher includes just the guest name or adds the table number. Also if they have to calligraph an envelope and inner table number card that will be on the higher end of the price range.
Table Numbers- $5.00-$25.00 depending if the calligraph provides the paper and the level of detail of each table number
Addressing Thank You Cards- I HIGHLY recommend having this done for you so you don't have to deal with it after your wedding. The list is the same as your wedding acceptance list so send it to your calligrapher to not deal with the hassle! $1.25-$10.00 each envelope.
Specialty Signs- $5.00-$25.00 depending on the size of each sign and how many words need to be calligraphed
Custom Favor Tags- ask your calligrapher about this, their prices will vary
Custom Programs/Menus- similar to Custom invitation artwork, plan on anywhere from $50.00-$150.00

Now on to the timing of things..... you should schedule at least 2 if not 3 weeks for your calligrapher to get your invitations completed. They usually have specific ways they like to receive your lists, but excel or word documents are fairly popular and usually okay with most calligraphers. For place cards and escort cards most calligraphers can get those completed in 2 weeks. A rush fee can be applied to most orders to get them done in less time, and figure a 10-15% charge of your total bill in order to accommodate a shorter completion period.

Calligraphy is an added expense for sure, but it can be the finishing touch to all of your design elements- from your paper products, tabletop decor and even special extras. It saves you plenty of time too as it takes hours to write out everyone's addresses. Most of you who have attempted to write out 100 addresses know that after a while your handwriting doesn't look quite as good as it did when you started your project. Some people ask a family member or friend to address everything for them as well and although that would be very generous of that person, some people are very intimidated by such a task, worrying that it won't look perfect. So after all is said and done, consider working with a calligrapher to make your life easier and make your wedding design that much more special.

Here's a list of noteworthy calligraphers we either know or have worked with in the past and we HIGHLY reccomend:

Jan Boyd Calligraphy
Ted Clausen Calligraphy
Calligraphy by Jennifer
Laura Hooper Calligraphy

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

KPW product line has been blogged about!

I am honored to share this great blog post about some of the KPW products we offer to our clients written by So Chic Events!


Thanks so much Shelby for blogging about us!

Take a look at So Chic Events website when you have a chance at: www.sochicevents.com

Meet the ladies of KPW

I thought it would be fun to show you who you talk to when you call the KPW office. Kate Mann has been with KPW for a few years now and we just welcomed Liz Sullivan to the KPW family. Lola, VP of operations, has been on board for almost 4 years now. Sometimes it's nice to put a face to a name. Thank you to Emilie Sommer of Emilie Inc. Photography for taking such fabulous photos!

Kate Mann, wedding planner, graphic designer, welcome basket customer service

Liz Sullivan, wedding planner, MY KPW customer service

Lola Parker, VP of operations

Kate Parker Weddings

Kate Parker Flowers

MY Kate Parker Wedding

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

How to make an Out of Town Welcome Basket- a tutorial

We have expanded the Kate Parker Weddings brand to include a number of products, most notably our custom Out of Town Welcome Baskets. We have been blogged numerous times showing off our products and occasionally someone comments on how expensive our baskets cost. While OOT welcome baskets are often a DIY project for many brides, I wanted to show you our process so you get a better sense of how involved they can be from the ordering through shipping of each individual basket. We will ship to as many hotels as a client requests, contacting each hotel in advance to let them know our baskets are coming. In addition we send each box with a list of guests as to minimize any confusion. I hope this tutorial gives inspiration for the DIY brides and maybe even some expert secrets and tips of the trade! Enjoy.

The first step is laying out all of the containers and filling them with whatever filler the client has requested. We have a number of containers available on our website but are always open to finding the perfect item if a client is looking for something a little different. The same goes with our filler- paper shred, crinkle paper, tissue paper, natural burlap...you name it, we can find it!

Next we add the heaviest of the items, usually the waters. We use local water companies within New England and then we use Fiji waters for the rest of the country. Sometimes we have them next to one another, other times we will separate them to make room for other larger items.

For this Chatham, MA basket, we wanted to include a Cape Cod travel guide as well as a map of the area for each guest. We usually get this from the local Chamber of Commerce and often times we create custom welcome letters and maps for our clients.

Because this basket wasn't very tall we needed to roll up the map and local guide. It ended up being cuter this way!

A KPW welcome basket isn't complete without our signature medicine kit which includes Tylenol, Advil, and Pepto Bismol. You never know how traveling will treat your guests.

Here is a photo of a completed basket. We like to include the following in each of our baskets: A sweet snack, a salty snack, 2 waters, a medicine kit, chamber of commerce guides and map, and an adorable container with filler. Some clients like to add additional items, some like a few less.

Sometimes we have to put items together in order to accommodate the size of the basket. Here we are creating bags of salt water taffy.

Here we are making small 2 cup bags of the BEST caramel popcorn in the world, Garrett's Popcorn in Chicago... it is so fabulous!

When the baskets are completed they are lined up to check for symmetry and to double check all the contents are included in each basket.

Packing baskets is not an easy thing, since we have to make sure the contents don't move or get destroyed in transit... we like to start with a large 30"x30" box filled with some biodegradable packing peanuts.

Each basket is wrapped in bubble. We don't like to use cellophane for each basket- it's a waste of money and it's not easy for your guests to deal with.

Once the baskets are placed in the box they are covered in more peanuts and bubble wrap, ensuring their safe delivery to each hotel.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How to make a bouquet- a tutorial

There is a LOT of labor involved in making a bouquet, especially for the bride. The size and shape have to be perfect, the flowers have to be the highest quality you can find, and the construction is very intricate. Then you have to add the usually complex ribbon wrapping to complete the look. I asked my floral designer to photograph the steps it takes to make a bridal bouquet and I wanted to share them with you. I hope this provides some insight to how much work is really involved in making beautiful personal flowers! Enjoy the tutorial!

1. Processing flowers: Flowers are ordered from numerous countries around the world and are delivered to the studio in large boxes. They are packed either in 10 stem bunches or if they're roses, they will be packed 25 to a sleeve. Each flower will have to be stripped of its leaves and thorns, cut and placed immediately in water to hydrate, and then they will be ready to use. Depending on the type and number of flowers you're working with, processing can take anywhere from an hour to one or two days.

2. Selecting the flowers: For a bridal bouquet, you can only use the very best blossoms. I usually like to over order my flowers by about 5% to guarantee we'll have a great selection to go through when it's time to pick the bride's flowers.

3. Creating the shape: Some bouquets are easier than others. If hydrangea is involved, it creates a base for the other flowers to be placed within. If you're using smaller blossoms- roses, tulips, lilacs, etc, they have to be individually placed to form a small cluster. Once you've gotten a base to work off of, you pick alternating types of flowers and place them around the bouquet in the open spaces, trying to keep the bouquet as evenly round as you can. Sometimes it's easier to wrap the bouquet in floral tape in multiple stages for better handling.

4. Completing the shape: Once you've used all the flowers you need, check the bouquet in a mirror to make sure it's completely round- or the shape you're trying to achieve. Sometimes I'll catch Kate Sauer- our floral designer- asking someone in the office to hold the bouquet to get an even better sense of its shape and size. If there's a gap somewhere, now is the time to fill it in with an additional flower.

5. Wrapping the bouquet: We like to use rubber bands first to get a nice tight grip on the stems. Next, we'll wrap in green floral tape to create the smooth surface the ribbon will cover. Finally, we will wrap the bouquet with ribbon, starting at the top of the stems and working our way to the bottom. We will always glue the end of the ribbon over and then attach it to the rest of the ribbon with pins. If there's a special ribbon embellishment- a ballet wrap or a simple overlay- we will attach that now as well.

6. Spray-down, storage, and presentation: I might be a little over the top when it comes to spraying flowers with water, but it is a policy in my studio to constantly keep our flowers hydrated both from their stems being in fresh water and by spraying the flower blossoms themselves. We keep all of our personal flowers in the cooler in vases of water and present our brides with their bouquets still in water until the last minute to keep them as fresh as possible. We always bring a towel to dry the stems off before everyone walks down the aisle.

Kate Parker Flowers
Kate Parker Weddings

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bands vs. DJs- a Band's perspective

Keyboard player Mark Shilansky of the Hip Pocket Orchestra in Boston,MA offers some great advice when deciding on your entertainment for your wedding.

Hip Pocket Orchestra
Music Mangement

Bands vs. DJs.
As a keyboard player who has been a full-time and sub member of some of New England's finest wedding bands (currently a member of Hip Pocket Orchestra, have played with Moment's Notice, Night Rhythm, Stardust), I'm obviously in favor of you hiring a band for your wedding or other event.

Our singers interact with the crowd, often dancing with guests and leading dance contests and the like. As instrumenalists we can interact, as well, upping the intensity as the dancing becomes more intense... having seen a band like Earth Wind and Fire live, I can tell you it's much more fun to dance to them live than in my living room. A couple gets an even more special feeling if a human being stands before them and sings their favorite song, than when a human being pushes a button on a CD player or an ipod. And, with a band like Hip Pocket that has choreography and great soloists, the members of the crowd who don't feel like dancing get treated to a concert.

Not to discount the value of DJs. They can play up-to-the-minute current stuff, and can also get crowds worked up. And I wouldn't recommend working a Bar Mitzvah without a DJ (and dancers) for the kids, as well as a band for the adults. But, if you have the money, it's worth the expense to have the extra warmth and energy a band can generate.

You need to choose a band that is capable of playing the music you want to hear, or is capable of playing the widest diversity of styles imaginable, to meet you and your guests' needs. Ask if the band plays specific tunes by specific artists; a good band almost always includes in its basic pricing one or two special requests, with more available at a small fee. Try and hear the band live to see if you want to spend several hours with them. And, back to the diversity issue: our band can play the latest tunes from the pop charts (we're currently seeing the dance floor fill up to "Single Ladies" by Beyonce, and Lady Ga Ga's "Just Dance"), and disco and 80's classics (EWF's "September" and, surprisingly, the novelty hit "Come On Eileen" are huge for us), but then play jazz and James Taylor for the cocktail and dinner sets, and even provide musicians for the ceremony.

So, thanks for reading, and consider weighing these options when choosing entertainment for your event! Congratulations!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Innovation meets A Very Unique Request

I had the pleasure of working with Jen and Erik on their wedding last weekend at the Wequassett Resort on the Cape. I actually worked very closely with Jen's mother, Ronnie throughout the entire process, never meeting either the bride or her mom before the wedding. We did everything through emails and phone calls and Ronnie allowed me to design almost everything I wanted, with a few color and style parameters. One of the things I enjoyed most about working with Ronnie was her sense of humor. Kate Mann and I would be laughing out loud almost every time she sent us a new email. My favorite conversation about her flowers was preceded by an email from Ronnie asking for a special surprise for Jen. Jen and Erik have a dog named Tiegen, a Welsh Terrier. Ronnie thought it would be great to "include" Tiegen in the wedding festivities so she asked me to create a life-sized Tiegen for the place card table. Better yet, she asked that we used items that would give Tiegen her actual features and fur coloring, instead of a traditional flower topiary. Well, after saying YES as I always do, I had to figure out how to make this dog and get her to the Cape in one piece. After many KPW staff members' hard work and creativity, Jen and Erik loved see their dog at the wedding! Here is Tiegen before the ceremony.... ahh the things we do for our clients :)

Thanks to the fabulous Stacey Kane for taking the time to get me this image!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bands vs. DJs- a DJ's perspective

Brown Photographic Image from Brown Photographic

Dave Dionne, a DJ in Maine who has been in the wedding industry for the past 23 years has given some great insight to this subject. Here's what he has to say about the ongoing discussion!

Dave Dionne

One of the great wedding debates is whether to have a band or a DJ at your wedding reception. In either case you’ll want to get an experienced wedding DJ or band! A really good wedding DJ will have quite a few advantages over a band.


The total number of songs available to a DJ has no limits (especially for those DJs using a laptop computer and having access to the internet). A music playlist for your cocktail hour, dinner and the dancing portion of the reception can easily be put together by your DJ. That means having music customized to your reception reflecting your tastes. Bands on the other hand are very limited in their potential song selections. They follow their playlist and are completely limited to the songs they know (and practice) as a band. Your DJ will supply music continuously throughout the reception. Bands are notorious for their breaks. There’s nothing worse for the party than the sudden silence that accompanies a band’s break!!


Your experienced wedding DJ will be an excellent master of ceremonies. With experience at wedding receptions comes the knowledge of how to keep things flowing and when to make specifics events (introductions, cutting of the cake, garter & bouquet toss, etc) run smoothly. Clear speech and command of the microphone will make each announcement easily heard and understood by everyone! I’ve known of many instances where even the best wedding band didn’t have a member of the band who was an effective emcee!


Here’s where the DJ has yet another major advantage over a band, cost!!! Here in Maine an experienced wedding DJ will probably cost you around $1000-$1500 for a prime Saturday between May and October. The cost of an experienced wedding band will be three to four times as much!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lighting- An essential design element

After working on the Cape this past weekend with one of my favorite photographers, Stacey Kane, we were chatting about a few moments in the wedding that we wished I had used some lighting for. The ceremony was under a beautiful Sperry Tent at 6 pm so although it was still daylight, it was difficult to capture the remaining natural light because we had a "ceiling" over us. One of my favorite decor elements of the wedding was a life-sized sculpture of the bride and groom's dog, Tiegen. She was the showpiece for the place card table and unfortunately she was in a very dark part of the cocktail hour tent and wasn't given her full glory. So after thinking about all of the lighting we've used in the past, from our studio or from hiring our absolute favorite lighting company, SBL Lighting, I thought it would be helpful to show you some images of weddings that used lighting as an important design element as well as a few shots without lighting so you can see the difference. Enjoy the images!

SBL Lighting
The State Room
Belle Mer

Sperry Tents
Stacey Kane
Claris Photography
Nelson Hancock

The reception space in the middle of the afternoon.

Images by Claris Photography

Belle Mer with LED lighting elements in the ceiling an on the dance floor.

A stunningly dramatic cake during the day.

An image of the cake with lighting from SBL Lighting.

The entrance to the State Room with lighting elements to add drama and the client's color palate.

Images by Stacey Kane

The State Room reception before it was evening.

Uplighting in pinks and oranges with round paper lanterns

Image by Nelson Hancock

A shot from outside a Sperry tent with uplighting in oranges and deeps reds.

Image by Stacey Kane