Viva L'Event » Blog

  • Viva is a full service boutique planning and design studio specializing in destination events. We absolutely LOVE what we do making our clients special day a day they will never forget, an event that is “buzz worthy”.

New Year’s Resolutions….well for me I don’t think it’s as much a resolution as it is my goals and where I would like Viva to go in 2017.  I am not sure who even reads my blog posts, I think for me my personal posts are more of a therapy for me.  I am not an expert writer…not at all!  I make all kinds of grammatical errors, my Mom (a retired 35 year teacher) continues to correct me on, so please don’t judge that part.

I think first and foremost this year it is about letting go of my fears and to BELIEVE.  Belief in myself, isn’t it something most people struggle with?  This year I am working on believing, letting go of my fears and thriving in what I love to do!  These are my words for this year.

Viva has many updates happening in the New Year, the Viva client experience. From the beginning process of an inquiry to the final event day our team will have updates that we think will create an even better experience for our clients.  It is important to make sure we continue to educate our clients throughout the planning process, a very important key is client education.

Paris in the Winter

Paris in the Winter

Another important key and continued goal for Viva is trust.  To have your clients full trust in why they hired you.  From meeting with them for the first time in a face-to- face consult, or over the phone/FaceTime, this is where we begin our trust together.  I always say when your clients trust in you and your company and why they selected you, their event becomes a huge success.  This year I am going to strive to make sure before couples become our clients they TRUST in Viva.  From the questions I ask in a consultation, digging deeper into our couples and making sure all questions are answered on both sides.  Not that our past clients haven’t trusted us, it’s just that 1% that sometimes might be questioning.  I tell couples it is so important to have a connection with your planner especially as well as your photographer and videographer.  Why is this?  As planners we are in your face throughout the process, we are lucky to have become great friends with our clients.   On your wedding day we are behind the scenes more but your photo and video are in your face on the wedding day and you want to make sure you have a great connection with all 3.  We love to have fun with our clients, isn’t that what it is all about, having fun planning your big day!  We sure think so!

Night in Paris

Night in Paris

Viva has continued to grow in the number of destination events we have done each year.  This is something I am so proud of and want to continue to grow this year.  A big 2017 goal for Viva, one I have talked about and put out into the universe, is to travel abroad for an event.  I have had the pleasure of being a part of events throughout the US and Caribbean, but putting together an event overseas is a HUGE goal of mine.  I was told by very successful luxury planner based in the UK, Sarah Haywood, that if you want to plan an event in another country you have to travel there and put yourself where you want to be.  I traveled to Italy when I was 17 for 2 weeks with family and last December traveled to London and Paris experiencing more overseas places I would love to plan in (as you see in the photos within this blog).  I have always LOVED to travel from when I was very young and am very blessed to be able to travel to places for events and personally.  I say, “wherever my clients want to take me I’m there for them!”  I hope to achieve my goal this year to be back in Europe planning an event, only time will tell.

Time In Paris

Time In Paris

In education I love to continue to learn and teach.  Last year I was able to speak at East Carolina University to students in Hospitality Management.  I loved being able to mentor students and continue to do so.  After going to the Rising Tide meetings in our Tuesday Together Raleigh group I have loved meeting all the new creatives and was asked for some sessions on mentorship and branding.  I love sitting one-on-one with each of them teaching and training.  When I was younger I thought I might become a teacher (following my Mom’s footsteps) but I also had a passion in advertising and marketing.  I think in some ways I am so happy to get to do all of those in my business. I personally learn so much from teaching, I love it.  This year I have some exciting news I will be a part of teaching some SkillPop (check out their amazing classes!) sessions and I can’t wait!! Stay tuned for dates.

Personally, I have some goals this year as well.  I hope to be able to purchase a home in 2017 and maybe just maybe actually get married.  If you didn’t know already I am going on almost 3 years engaged coming up in April.  Being together for over 9 years maybe we will make the move to get married, go even elope maybe.  A planner that never plans her own, ha! Then maybe we will add to our family of 2 this year.  I wasn’t ready to be a Mom when I was in my 20’s and then I started my business and it became my baby and will always be my first.  I think it’s about having a balance in your business and I feel I finally have that so adding a little one at 36 years old could be a potential.  I am not going to put pressure on all, so we will just see what happens.

This year Viva will also blog more! I promise this!  We are going to blog not only about our events and publications but also a mix of inspiration and articles we have read that we feel are a great thing to share with our readers as well.

Myself and my team can’t wait for 2017 events and all the wonderful couples and families we will be meeting and working with this year! Cheers to 2017!

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Bryan0558

What a year 2016 has been for Viva and my Team Hive! As destination wedding planner and designers we have had the wonderful opportunity to plan events this year all over North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Illinois this year.  Working with our couples and seeing the joy on their faces is what all the hard work is all about.  We have worked with so many talented vendors that we couldn’t have created the events without them.

A very special thank you to my amazing team who I can’t thank them enough for the hard work and dedication to Viva and our clients, to make their weddings all they dreamed of.  This year we have added an additional associate lead, Lauren, who has been with the team for almost 2 years now and has moved up from an Intern, to an Assistant, to now an Associate Lead Planner.  I am so happy to have Lauren now as a lead for our team adding to are already fabulous leads Kristin and Jamie!

We were published in print magazines twice, Trendy Bride (national print) and The Knot (Illinois Fall 2016 addition) and many national blogs throughout the year. It’s been beyond thrilling to see Viva’s name listed amongst the talented vendors but more to be able to have our clients weddings featured.  Something many couples dream of, to see their own wedding featured and for others to pin their own special day.

I think it’s so important to support other creatives and more importantly within the same creative line that you also work in.  Planners supporting planners, photographers supporting photographers and so on.  Why can’t we all support each other and not feel that there is such competition and we are each others enemies.  I continue to stress the importance of support within the industry and that we are not competitors because we are all different.  No individual is the same, we have different personalities, different talents, we are our own person and our companies are unique because of this.  The Rising Tide Society has really been a huge supporter of this within the community.  Sometimes there are days it is hard to not compare yourself and have doubt but it’s important to stay positive in your own talents and passions.

I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted but I am focusing on all the good Viva has accomplished this year and can’t wait to bring on 2017!

I just sometimes pinch myself that I get to do what I love each and every day for a living that this passion of my pays my bills.  It’s crazy and I am so blessed!!!  I thank all of my clients and vendors that have continued to support me throughout the years and can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for Viva L’Event!

***Check into the follow up post for my goals for 2017 coming soon next week.

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When Stefanie and Will contacted me they inquired for help in their overall event design for their special day with a Gatsby style theme.  They wanted a softer feel on the traditional black and white Gatsby so they settled on a soft blush, gold, copper and ivory.  They selected the lovely Bryant Courtyard for their wedding at the beautiful Carolina Inn for the 48 guests to enjoy not only the inside of the Inn, but outside under the stars for dinner.  We loved helping this non-traditional couple bring their vision to life.  Stefanie’s blush beaded dress was so stunning, if you can believe it she found it online!

Gatsby Viva L

They talk more about how they met, their favorite part of the wedding and the importance of hiring an event designer and the stress she had in trying to plan the big day alone.  We like to have our readers understand the importance and educate them in hiring a professional to not only design your wedding but also planning to take those extra steps of stress away.

The vendors all came together to bring the vision together from Stefanie’s hair and makeup team by Wink Hair and Makeup, to calligraphy by Mason Dixon, and the rentals from CE Rental and Party Reflections.  I loved creating the flowers to complete their look, especially their greenery chandeliers.

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Where and how they met?

We met in graduate school at a mutual friend’s birthday dinner, but after that, we actually didn’t see each other again for about two years. Somehow despite working in the same small department, we didn’t cross paths or end up in the same social circle. Finally at the very end of graduate school, when Stefanie was about to move away for internship, Will attended a going-away celebration and we spent the whole night talking and laughing. The next weekend, we went on our first date. Within a month, Stefanie moved out of state, so our relationship was long-distance from the start! Luckily, we fit together so well and fell in love so fast that we were committed to making it work.

Gatsby Viva L

Initial thoughts/impressions when they met each other the first time?

Will was quite taken by Stefanie and tried to learn more about her after they met. Stefanie was clueless about this until years later!

Gatsby Viva L

Describe the proposal

Will proposed to Stefanie at his parents’ home on Thanksgiving. He called her into his childhood bedroom and asked her to sit down. When he got down on one knee, Stefanie immediately lost it! She was crying and saying, “No, you’re joking! Are you serious??” She was completely overcome. Will took that as a yes!

Gatsby Viva L

Describe the wedding planning process

Stressful! Stefanie did essentially all of the planning, having a clear “vision” for what she wanted! We wanted a really unique and meaningful wedding. No white wedding dress, no bouquet, no bridal party, no DJ dance party–just an intimate and personal ceremony followed by an elegant moonlit garden party with only our nearest and dearest family and friends. Achieving a dream wedding on a budget is challenging and overwhelming. Hiring a professional to design the event space was money well spent. Just having Stephanie to be the go-between to talk to the venue was a huge help. We are so glad that our engagement was relatively short (7 months) because it would have been so stressful to keep planning any longer!

Gatsby Wedding Viva L

Tented Wedding Viva L

Describe the wedding day

Our wedding day was wonderful. Because all of the guests were traveling from out of town, we had more of a wedding weekend. Everyone stayed at the Carolina Inn and loved it. By the time the wedding weekend arrived, the stress was gone, and we just had a wonderful time. We felt like we were able to stay extremely mindful of the whole experience and really appreciate what was happening, as we had hoped would be the case in having a small wedding (<50 guests). One thing we were really concerned about was what the weather was going to be like. Thunderstorms were forecasted for days before and after the wedding, including on our wedding day. We got lucky with the weather–it was a gorgeous day and extremely mild and non-humid for July in North Carolina! It only sprinkled for a few minutes, right when it was time to get seated under the tent for dinner. We’re actually happy it rained a little to make renting the tent worth the (non-refundable) expense!

Gatsby Viva L

Describe overall feeling at the end of the wedding day

At the end of the day, we were in a haze of bliss. We talked for hours the night of the wedding about everything that we loved. Stefanie couldn’t even sleep there was so much to process!

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What was your favorite design detail?

Our favorite design detail was the table arrangement. We really wanted to have one big U-shaped table as opposed to several small tables, with lush greenery all along it. The place settings were beautiful including the art deco charger plates, rose gold silverware, rose gold calligraphy place cards, and sprigs of rosemary and thyme.

Gatsby Viva L

Wedding Cake Viva L

VENDORS:

Venue & Catering:  The Carolina Inn

Event & Floral Design:  Viva L’Event

Photography:  Brian Mullins Photography

Cake:  Sugar Euphoria

Hair/Makeup:  Wink Hair & Makeup

Linens, Chairs, Place Setting Rentals:  CE Rental

Tent and Lighting Rental:  Party Reflections

Calligraphy Signs and Escort Cards: Danielle-Mason Dixon Designs

Stationary:  Minted

Officiant: Kayelily Middleton

Wedding Dress:  Feriani

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I don’t usually post personal topics on my business page, but I think I am going to start mixing some in now and then! I think it’s important to not only know my business, but to know a little more about me (Stephanie) too. I wanted to write about Apraxia.. do you know what this means? Have you ever heard of this before? I never did until about 6 1/2 years ago.

Walk for Apraxia

My niece Isabella and me at last year’s walk in Chicago.

Many haven’t, and that is why I want to talk about it here today.  In Wikipedia terms…  “Apraxia of speech (AOS) is a neurologic speech disorder that reflects an impaired capacity to plan or program sensorimotor commands necessary for directing movements that result in phonetically and prosodically normal speech.[7] It occurs in both children (childhood apraxia of speech) and adults (acquired apraxia of speech) who have (prior to the onset of apraxia) acquired some level of speaking ability. AOS affects an individual’s volitional speech and[8] is typically the result of a stroke, tumor, or other known neurological illness or injury. Apraxia may be accompanied by a language disorder called aphasia.  There are several types of Apraxia and AOS is just one of them.”

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I’m one lucky Auntie Bee!

Quoted from Casana website…”While most children almost miraculously learn to speak without effort, children with apraxia struggle mightily to accurately produce sounds, syllables and words. While their understanding of language is usually much better than their ability to express it, children with apraxia have difficulty planning and programming the movements which underlie speech. At the heart of it, speech is more than knowing what you want to say. Rapid and finely graded movements of speech structures (the lips, tongue, palate and jaw, etc.) occur which allow us to clearly articulate our ideas. But for children with apraxia, ideas are often stuck inside, unspoken or not understood, because of apraxia. Childhood Apraxia of Speech is considered rare among speech disorders in children and particularly challenging to overcome.” 

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Why does this specifically hit home for me?  My beautiful niece Isabella had been diagnosed with Apraxia at a very young age, under 2 years of age.  My sister (in medicine herself as a podiatric surgeon) and brother-in-law saw some signs very early on (luckily) that they were persistent with doctors on finding out what was going on in.  They knew something was not right in her development.  Many are misdiagnosed as having Autism since it is on a similar spectrum.  Over many years of battling insurance companies on being able to get the proper speech classes and therapy, thank goodness Isabella has come a long way in her journey.  She is now in first grade and one of my favorite things is just sitting, snuggling and listening to her talk.

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She has been able to come a long way through the help of her parents, family and teachers.  So glad there is an organization (Walk for Children with Apraxia of Speech) that is out there to help and support to give children a voice and help others understand.  The 8th Annual walk is coming up in Chicago on October 1st.  If you can’t attend, you can also help in supporting Team Fellino!

If you don’t know, I am also an avid UFC fan (previously training in Muay Thai) and one UFC fighter we all know very well, Ronda Rousey, also was diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech at a young age.  She talked about how it made her feel as a child in her book My Fight/Your Fight.

My hope is to help in continuing the education of what Apraxia is (as years ago I never knew myself) and maybe you know someone who is in this journey.  There is help out there, check out the Casana website for more information.

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I know we have had a few weeks where we haven’t posted our #takinitbacktuesday blog posts but we are back in action!  We had the pleasure of being asked to style and design for Slice Pie Company (link to site) for their beautiful and delicious pies!

Slice Pie-Viva L

“A friend is like a pie: you can never have to many and they make you happy when you’re sad.” -unknown

I had the hard job of not only styling the pies but I had to try every one, yes I had to!  I could only give a full A+ if I tried them right.  It’s a hard job but someone has to do it.

Slice Pie-Viva L

Owner, Kristen (known as The Pie Lady) is one spunky fun boss lady and we LOVE it!!  Kristen says, “The dream began with my father. He dreamt of Slice many years before I was even a thought. Our recipes have been passed down from generation to generation with innovative tweaking by my father, who believed so much in our recipes that he entered our Apple Pie and WON First Place at the North Carolina State Fair, with our unmatched signature crust! Fast forward a few years and add me to the mix– someone who dreamed of turning our shared passion of baking into a lifestyle, and something that we can continue to pass down to our family.”  I always love hearing the story behind the dream.

Slice Pie-Viva L

Their pies are not only available for purchase locally (through their site or at local eateries) they are also available to ship to your favorite loved ones.  You can purchase 1 or 100++ for events and create your own pie bar.  Slice Pie also offers mini pies, pocket pies, pie jars and slice bites too.  Yep, I tried all these too….YUMMY!  I think I gained about 10 pounds from this shoot and I was ok with doing some extra work outs for these tasty treats.

Slice Pie-Viva L

If you haven’t had the chance to try Slice Pies like Nike says “JUST DO IT!” you won’t be disappointed. Can’t wait to see how their newly updated site turns out!

Photos by:  Vanessa and Thaniel Photography

Takin inside:  Ida Lou Weddings vintage trailer

Taken outside on property at:  Parlour Chapel 

Slice Pie-Viva L

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