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Wedding Visionary: Janice Carnevale

This year here on the blog I’m focusing on a few things, one of which being encouraging others in the wedding industry who are using their talents and knowledge to be innovative. I’m working my butt off to create a successful online shop full of modern, creative, unconventional event decor. Much like that, the companies that I’m going to feature are using their brains to fill holes in their market, make money during the off-season, or simply work less weddings while continuing to serve their couples. I hope you enjoy learning about their drive and get inspired to start a little visionary project of your own!

bellwether-cmyk janicebellwether Say hello to my gal Janice Carnevale. How hip is she in her star sweater? Hey Janice, I need that sweater. She owns a wedding planning company based in DC called Bellwether Events. We haven’t worked together yet (Hi Janice, let’s change that, K?) but we often advise each other on cool vendors we like and she sent me the most delicious cupcakes once. I’m still dreaming about those cupcakes.

She produces beautiful, stress-free, weddings for families that are lucky enough to have the acreage to sustain a 200 person wedding. She knows where to put the tent, when to put up the tent, how many bathrooms you need, and where the heck everyone is going to park. Because a wedding at home sounds quaint and memorable, very Father of the Bride, until you realize everyone will have to pee and put their car somewhere. Let’s not make those two things in the same place. Bellwether Events can help you with that.

But what if you don’t live in the DC area? And might not have the budget for a full planner?

Janice is here to help you…

bellwether4bellwether3 bellwether2 BellwetherEvents1

images by Katie Stoops

She wrote a free ebook called Your Elegant Wedding At Home.

FREE. EBOOK. Here’s Janice to tell you all about it:

What is your main wedding industry business? Why did you start it? How do you use it to better serve couples getting married? I am a wedding and event planner. I worked in restaurants and catering from 2002-2006, and I enjoyed working on the weddings the most, so I decided to focus solely on that and founded Bellwether Events in late 2006. I love helping people and I love weddings, so it was a natural fit. Since then we have expanded to other social and nonprofit events, but wedding planning is by far my main business.

I’ve called you a Wedding Visionary because you used your brains to start an amazing new revenue stream for your business that piggy backs off of your main money maker. What is your visionary business? I have self-published a free e-book called The Elegant At-Home Wedding and with it an accompanying blog. You can find them both at They are both full of helpful advice for those planning backyard weddings of all shapes and sizes.

Why did you start this visionary business? What hole in the industry or in your community are you seeking to fill? After working on a number of very interesting backyard weddings in a short period of time, I realized that the learning curve within this style of wedding was huge, and most couples and their families went into the process completely unprepared to open up their home to hundreds of guests. Being that their home didn’t come with a “venue manager” to guide them (as a regular wedding venue would) they were really in the dark about so many things. I can’t plan every at-home wedding – but I do want to help everyone. So I decided to put my knowledge and experience out there in the hopes that it would first and foremost, help others. And if I made a little extra revenue from either clients, consulting, or speaking engagements, that was cool too.

What have your challenges been in your new venture? For starters, converting e-book readers into paying clients has been difficult. While most readers don’t live near me, I would be happy to consult with them on an hourly basis by phone or Skype. Secondly, trying to create new content on the blog is a huge challenge – I could use some partners/contributors there. Third, finding the time needed to truly promote the book to various media outlets has been challenging.

In three years, where do you see your visionary business being? What are your goals? I’d love to publish a second volume with more tips and advice (maybe even make it a real book!) within the next 3 years. My goals include improving the look of blog and get more new content on there. I’d also love to speak to new wedding planners about how to execute successful at-home weddings.

How has your visionary venture served you personally? Some people seem to be impressed when they find out that I’ve written a book, and it has led to some press opportunities. But mostly it gives me self-confidence knowing that I undertook something that was at times a very overwhelming idea and brought it to life.

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DIY candy and flower centerpiece

When Oriental Trading asked me to design a wedding centerpiece that incorporates candy, I did what any self-respecting designer does when given a new assignment: searched Pinterest.

And…well…it wasn’t pretty. There are good ideas out there for using candy to decorate traditional baby showers and kid’s birthday parties. But for an event such as a wedding that wants to walk the fine line between unconventional and formal? What I found was less than inspiring.

Challenge accepted, Oriental Trading.

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Out of the box materials should be kept simple and clean. Use them in one, two, or three colors max to keep the decor sophisticated. That being said, are you going for the opposite of sophisticated? Then use every color of the rainbow. For this project, my goal was to show how you can use a non-traditional material such as candy in a traditional floral arrangement while still keeping the centerpiece formal with a bit of quirky thrown in for good measure.

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Candy8 Candy9

You can get the full instructions over on the Oriental Trading blog. Basically, glue candy sticks to your containers. Wire in some black and white swirl lollipops. Fill with flowers of your choosing. OR – find that one crazy florist in your area that loves doing kooky stuff and send her the link to this post. 


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How To Throw A Modern Engagement Party

balloonsWhen I got engaged in 2008 I despised the idea of having an engagement party. I didn’t want to pay for a silly party that felt like it was just another way for the Wedding Industry to take all of my money. I was pro-marriage but anti-marketing schemes, which just happens to be part of my core of this business.

Since then I’ve gotten married and had a baby. This means I’ve already had most of the parties that are thrown in my honor in my lifetime. Bridal shower, wedding, baby shower – all in the past. Looking back, a tiny selfish part of me wishes I had that engagement party. I’ll never again be in that sweet, yet weird, transitional period between being single and being married. That time in your life deserves to be celebrated! So gather up your closest friends and family, meet at your local watering hole with a few DIY decorations, and toast to the wedding planning journey you are about to embark on.

I partnered with Cricut to create a modern, fresh, and cool take on DIY engagement party decor. Everything you see in this post was created with my Cricut machine. It really is the best craft tool I have in my arsenal. I mean…decorate your OWN BALLOONS. These mylar balloons are available at Oriental Trading. Personalized balloons are where it’s at for 2016 celebrations. You’ve heard it here first.

bride-balloonballoons2engagement-party-cake-topper gemstone-cupcakes gemstoneCupcakeToppers If you already own a Cricut machine (we are best friends, right?), then you can purchase these projects in Design Space for as little at $.99 and make as many 3D paper gemstones as your heart desires.

Yep, you read that right.

Unlimited. 3D. GEMSTONES.

Balloon Decals in Design Space

3D Gemstones in Design Space

Cake and Cupcake Toppers in Design Space

Placecard Plates in Design Space
3d-gemstones-paperLike it or not, all of your family members will now be referred to by their relationship to you. “Oh, you’re the mother of the bride, how exciting to go dress shopping!” “Hey, sister of the groom, keep the spotlight on the bride, K?” “Father of the Bride…say hello to your empty wallet.”

Personalize their place settings at your engagement party with these DIY plates. Now get to crafting.

engagementparty Engagement-party-plates Cricut_engagement_party2 Cricut_engagementparty1How excited will your mom be when she sees her Mother of the Groom plate? Let me answer that for you: VERY EXCITED.

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