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Podcast Interview: The Big Wedding Planning Podcast

Hello lovely people! This week I’m interviewed on a super fun podcast, The Big Wedding Planning Podcast, where we talk all things wedding design, my own budget wedding, how to get the most out of Pinterest to design your wedding, and general goodies all about event design and flowers here in NYC.

You can listen on iTunes RIGHT HERE.

Do you have a podcast that needs guests? I love talking about all things wedding design, flowers, working with clients, budgets, Brooklyn, being a mom to a crazy four-year old. Email me at

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Top 5 Reasons to Create a Mood Board

When I was in college studying textile design, every assignment started with visual research in the library and a mood board. Back then (since I’m so old), our mood boards weren’t digital. We made photo copies of books, ripped pages out of magazines, and cut little swipes of textiles that we taped onto a piece of foam core. Old school.

While I enjoyed the final product of having a mood board to design off of, I never wanted to do the research part. I felt like I was copying someone else’s work by putting designs on a mood board. Couldn’t I just sit down and come up with some spectacular design right from my brain with no research at all? It’s that “designing”? Grabbing ideas out of thin air? Well, not really. All design comes from somewhere. For weddings, that “somewhere” is your mood board.

I was too excited to get to the designing part of the project that I didn’t feel like doing the most important part: the research on aesthetic.

The mood board is what all design decisions come back to. It’s a singular document where you can see your whole entire event in one place. The stationery, flowers, linens, textures, and venue are all right there – immediately you’ll be able to see if a decor item doesn’t fit into the aesthetic before purchasing it. I could never design an event with first creating a mood board. Read below on my Top 5 reasons to have a mood board for your wedding.

(don’t feel like reading? Download Mood Boards 101 and you are good to go.)

Top 5 reasons to have a mood board when designing your wedding (or designing anything, really):

1. Have a single starting place for all your decor

Remember in school when you had to write an essay? The first step was making an outline of the essay, then fill in with sentences, and finally with paragraphs. The mood board is the outline of your event design. In the mood board, you should include images that convey color, texture, flowers, lighting, your venue, materials, and general mood inspiration. I go over all of this in way more, almost too much, detail in Mood Boards 101. All good design has a starting point. Your mood board is where you start to design your event.

2. Decor decisions are easier with a mood board

Once you’ve designed your mood board, you can start making decor decisions. Without a mood board, deciding between sequin linens and velvet linens could be a challenge. One is so sparkly! The other is so smooth and luxurious. Girl, go check your mood board. Which ever linen could seamlessly live inside that board is the one to choose. Same goes when shopping at Home Goods or picking out a florist. Compare the aesthetic of what you are looking at to your mood board. Does it fit? Great, get out that credit card.

3. Keeps all your decor cohesive

The biggest challenge that couples come to me with is that they are worried that everything is going to look good together. They aren’t able to visualize in their head if their cake topper will mesh with the style of their cake. Or if the centerpieces will jive with the table linens. The mood board helps you keep all of your decor cohesive. Because you are using the mood board as a starting point to make decisions off of (ahem, #2 above), all of your decor will automatically go together.

When working with a wide variety of professionals for your event, send them all your mood board. As they all work off the same document, your cake and flowers and stationery and linens will magically look cohesive. Actually, it’s not magic, it’s all the mood board just doing what it does.

4. Helps communicate with wedding pros

This is my favorite reason to have a mood board. It helps amazingly when working with creative wedding pros. Your florist, caterer, baker, lighting designer, your stationer, even your planner will benefit from you creating a mood board as one of the first steps when planning your wedding. When a couple comes to me for their wedding design or flowers with a mood board, I want to hug them! It could even be as simple as a Pinterest board or a few images in a google doc. Being able to see what’s inside your brain, what you are naturally drawn to, and the types of decor that you love is priceless in starting our working relationship together. My job is to take your crude mood board and turn it into a refined version of it’s self. Like when you get your make-up done at Sephora.

Visuals always cut down on misunderstandings over email. We all call the same color different names: is it light purple, violet, umber, smokey blue…etc?? No one knows what color you are referring to without a visual reference. In comes the mood board to save the day!!

4. it’s fun

Wedding planning is supposed to be fun, right? Forget about the money arguments, the stressful budget, the sticky family situations you have to navigate by diving deep into design. It’s your first opportunity to use the creative side of your brain. No spreadsheets or emails or check lists or contracts. Simply you, a bunch of beautiful inspiration images, and a few hours to create a stunning mood board to use as you design your event.

For those just beginning with putting together your wedding aesthetic, I highly recommend signing up for my Free 5-day Course on How To Design Your Wedding On Pinterest.

Are you ready to refine your mood board into a beautiful, cohesive representation of your wedding ready to send to vendors? My Mood Boards 101 download and Mood Board Templates will guide you in creating a mood board. They are really simple, drag and drop, templates full of information on how to use your board when it’s done.

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Round tables vs Rectangle tables for a wedding

Round tables or rectangle tables for your wedding reception? Our first reader question is here! It’s a common one that I often get asked when we start working on floor plans with our clients…

Hey Michelle!

My fiance’ and I are getting married next year at a venue that is basically a big blank slate. We’ve started to talk about what type of tables we want at the wedding: round or long. While I LOVE the look of the super long table, our venue is trying to steer us towards rounds. They seem so….traditional to me. What would you recommend?



Hey Julie!

Oh, a big blank slate! Sounds like my kind of a venue – one where you need to make all of the design decisions, which can often be overwhelming, but that’s why I’m here. The rounds vs long table debate is one that my clients deal with all the time. Like you, Pinterest has given them a million beautiful inspiration images of super long tables but hasn’t done the same for round tables. Round tables also tend to feel, like you said, traditional, and stuffy, ballroom-like, etc. All the aesthetic feelings that my urban clients are trying to avoid.

What to do? The choice will depend on four things: 1) your budget, 2) your guest count, 3) the size of the space, 4) and aesthetics

Let’s think of this question spatially first: Round tables can seat more guests per square foot. One 60″ round will seat 6-8 guests and one 72″ round will seat 10-12 guests. Compared to a standard 8′ rectangle table that will only seat 8 guests, round tables can seat more people in your space. If your guest count is pushing the max capacity of the space, then round tables will be best in order to seat everyone comfortably. If you have some room to play with on your floor plan, you can do a mix of rectangles and rounds or maybe even all rectangles. This brings us to the budget…

More tables means more money. Every table you add is another centerpiece and another linen. 150 guests will fit at 15 round tables or 18 rectangle tables. The rectangle table option means you are paying for three additional centerpieces, linens, and tables. Something to think about.

Your budget could also be impacted by the availability of tables at your venue. Some venues have tables in-house that they use for events free of charge. These are often round tables. Deciding to use rectangle tables instead means that you need to rent each rectangle table. Again, more money.

Although, some of you will say “hell with the money, I want super long, romantic tables dripping with candlelight.” You might value your need for the visual impact of a long table over the practicality of the round tables. Great! Long tables lend themselves to pretty garlands, photographs that capture the symmetry and angles, hanging installations, overhead florals, and more intimate conversation between guests.

Round table receptions will often be less expensive to decorate, seat more people per square foot, and have a more traditional vibe.

Rectangle table receptions could cost more for the additional tables, will take more floor space to seat the same number of guests, and have a more modern, dinner party type of feeling.

Or, you could do a mix of rectangles and rounds to give the room a lot of variety and visual interest.

Your options:

A) All Rounds

  • Pros
    • Cost effective: fit more people at a table means less tables therefore less centerpieces, some venues have round tables in-house means no rental fees for tables.
    • High guest counts: Round tables can “interlock” in a floor plan, which means you can seat more guests per square foot
  • Cons
    • Traditional: not as hip as long tables

B) All Rectangles

  • Pros
    • Trendy: Get the look of candle light down the table or a super long hanging installation.
    • Dinner party feeling: Long tables feel like a big family dinner party
  • Cons
    • Costly: You’ll need more tables for the same number of guests as round tables and might need to rent all the tables.
    • Can’t fit large weddings: large guest counts won’t fit at all rectangle tables in smaller venues

A) Rounds and Rectangles

  • Pros
    • Best of both worlds: Some guests as long tables, like the bridal party, then everyone else at round tables.
    • Variety: Gives the reception space a lot of visual variety.
  • Cons
    • Technical: You’ll need knowledge of floor plans and flow to make this work. Your planner or caterer can best advise you on how to set up the room with a mix of tables.
    • Can’t fit large weddings: large guest counts won’t fit at all rectangle tables in smaller venues

Let’s talk sizes. Round tables traditionally come in 60″ and 72″. That’s the measurement of the diameter of the table. A 60″ table will seat up to 8 guests comfortably and a 72″ will seat up to 1o guests comfortably. Those numbers could be pushed up to 10 and 12, respectively, although people are going to be squashed. If you are using chargers at the place settings, keep the guest counts per table to the lower end of 8 people at a 60″ and 10 people at a 72″ round.

Rectangle tables come in 8′ long segments. Put together a few 8′ long tables and, tada, you have a super long table. Rectangles tables are all about the width. 30″ wide tables are the most common, BUT, they are SO NARROW. You can’t fit literally any centerpieces on a 30″ wide table except some garland and maybe bud vases. Compotes? Forget it.

42″ or 48″ wide rectangle tables are where you want to be. These widths leave plenty of space for pretty florals, candles, a myriad of glassware, bread bowls, table numbers, etc. The wider tables are also required for family style service, since you need room to put the platters down.

There you have it. The ins and outs of the round vs rectangle debate. Which table shape are you using at your wedding?

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