Archive for the ‘Event Ideas and Tips’ Category

A Unique Father Daughter Dance

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Let’s talk father daughter dances! Many modern brides still like to include the tradition of dancing with their father at their wedding reception. It is a nice time to thank your dad for being a part of your life with a special moment that is just for the two of you. But how do you pick which song to dance to from the millions of songs out there? Ahh, the pressure!!

I recently came across an awesome song that captures those few minutes that you have to honor your dad with a dance. This perfectly unique father daughter dance song is called This Dance and is written by Bill Griese of Nashville. The song is laid back and sweet and has a very James Taylor-ish kinda feel. The lyrics, sung by Bill Griese and Taylor Dukes, feel like the exchange of words between a father and a daughter as they dance together. Is that perfect or what?!! I love the part about how the daughter always brings a smile to her dad’s heart. How sweet! Give it a listen and let me know what you think!!

With all that Life has to offer,


Life Design Event Planning // Wedding Planner // Phoenix

Real Weddings :: Laura + Mike

Friday, June 27th, 2014

It is customary for us to ask our clients if they are exchanging gifts. I personally love this part of a wedding. It’s so cute to see the Best Man deliver a gift of the Maid of Honor deliver a gift to the wedding couple individually. When we ask most couples about this they immediately think it needs to be something expensive but on the contrary I encourage words…they are free and priceless.

For this couple a gift to the Groom from the Bride :: Custom-made Cufflinks

From the moment I met Laura and Mike they purged their color choices of an Arizona sunset. This was a major part of the design and thinking of the wedding. Fiori Floral Design assisted with conceptualizing the vision with this stunning bridal bouquet including all the colors Laura wanted.

Due to wind before the ceremony we tied these strung lanterns with the wedding escort cards to the tree so we didn’t obtain a picture with it as we wanted to present it but it looked so pretty when we were able to untie them. Just another creative way to display their guest table assignments.

Ceremony set. Musicians Playing. Bridal Party about to walk in. Beautiful setting at The Wrigley Mansion. It’s time.

A few items from home our couple brought to give it a homie (not in a gansta sort of feeling. Warms the heart doesn’t it.

As a sign of remembrance the couple and their bridal party released balloons to remember the loved ones they lost. This was especially important to Laura due to her triumph against breast cancer…still a survivor and holding strong.

They did it. It was charming and overflowed with tears and love. Fantastic job to the officiant Dr. Jerry Law from This Day Forward for pulling together an outstanding original ceremony with lots of their personality. It was a blast!

This is a great repsentation of how much better of a picture the “signing of the license” can be if it has some decorative sense to it. Often times it’s shot in a boring ballroom or on some wooden random table. That document makes your marriage legals so think ahead where you’d like to sign it.

The Groom’s socks. I just love the hidden details.

Loving the ginormity of the balloons. Any time I hold one I feel like a child again and who doesn’t want to feel that way? SO carefree!!!

A nice room shot of the decor. The guests loved the hanging parasols from the ceiling of the reception space.


Vendor List

Balloons :: AZ Balloon Art

Cake Baker :: Let Them Eat Cake

Ceremony Music :: Applause Productions

Decor :: James Barnett

Entertainment :: Ray the DJ

Floral :: Fiori Floral Design

Hair and Makeup :: Salon Embellish

Officiant :: From This Day Forward

Paper Products :: The Invitation Lady

Photography :: Harley Bonham Photography

Rentals :: Creative Event Rentals

Speciality Services :: Self Portrait Station

Specialty Services :: Ali Ink

Venue :: Wrigley Mansion

Videographer :: Modern Wedding Scenes

Guest Interviews at Weddings // To do or not to do?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Wedding Guest Interviews // Interview Booth

I gotta give a shout out to one of our awesome couples Jamie and Babak who got married at the beautiful Omni Resorts (Montelucia Resort and Spa) for this idea. They originally were thinking the cinematographer would interview the guests going table to table (too old school and awkward, right?) however Bright Bokeh set up an interview “booth” for guests and they captured the guests throughout the reception and it was a huge hit. I wish I would have had this at my wedding because it captures people’s reactions and best wishes for you to keep forever! Think how awesome it would be to have someone that you cherish on video at your wedding!?!

Wedding Guest Interviews // Interview Booth


What are your thoughts on this maybe new tradition?

With all that LIFE has to offer,


Cicely Rocha.Miller // Event Producer + Modern Union Expert // Life Design Event Planning // Phoenix + Minneapolis

Guests Taking Pictures During Your Wedding or Special Event

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

A big topic that’s been buzzing is the idea or suggestion of not allowing your guests to take pictures during the wedding day or special event (ie. birthday party, bat mitzvah, bar mitzvah, corporate event, etc.). It’s a hot discussion now because so many people are facebook-ing, instagram-ing, vine-ing, social media-ing your event and all of it’s decor and the hype and seem to be focused more on sharing and showing off via the smart phones then being present in the moment of your celebration.

Way too many times we see this at events.



What are you going to do with the images you are taking in that moment? Will they be printed? Will they be displayed on your fireplace mantel or anywhere for that matter? What I can tell you is that it is very difficult for photographers and cinematographers to  work around all of the amature photographers and this doesn’t even include the uncles with the “pro” Canon brand camera.

I am all about hashtagging an event and sharing it via social media. Heck, I do it myself often for my business.

But, as a guest I say…put the phone and the camera down. Hear what is being said, see what is happening, relish in the celebration and enjoy every minute of this once in a lifetime experience. Sure, you can relive it via your iphone but if you are looking through the camera to enjoy it for the first and only time you won’t ever get the chance to experience first hand ever again.

Then when the videos and professional pictures are presented from your hired vendors you can share and relive it as if it happened all over again. Focus on your loved ones and not how many likes you are getting on your uploaded pictures.

What are your thoughts as photographers and cinematographers? What are your thoughts as guests attending the event? Shall we forbid the cameras and phones and leave it to the professionals or create hashtags and encourage the social media frenzy?


With all that Life has to offer,


Cicely Rocha.Miller // Event Consultant // Life Design Event Planning // Phoenix + Minneapolis

Halloween Inspired Wedding Ideas!

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Being someone with an October birthday, I am no stranger to Halloween themed parties. Since the spookiest night of the year is just around the corner, it got me thinking…how much fun would a Halloween Inspired Wedding be?

I’m not suggesting you cover your reception in bright orange and purple with fake bats hanging from the ceiling or anything. But something a little moody might end up being really exciting and different!

Halloween Wedding Inspiration

“Halloween Wedding Inspiration” by merrilywed is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here’s a few ideas to get you started. Don’t even get me started on finding haunted venues! And remember, a Halloween wedding can mean a costume party reception!! Check. Mate.

Til next time…

With all that Life has to offer,


Life Design Event Planning


Social Media at Your Wedding

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

In our increasingly social and tech-savvy world, it is inevitable that your wedding guests will use social media during your special day. The question is, when does it stop being tasteful and start being tacky?

There are certainly pros and cons to encouraging social media at your wedding. Social media can be a fun way for your wedding party to share some of the behind-the-scenes action with your guests and those that couldn’t attend. This may also help you remember the special little moments with your loved ones that seem like a blur when you look back on them!

It can also allow a look inside the experience from your guests’ point-of-view, which will most likely be very different from your own! However, when you allow your guests and wedding party to be photographers, you are essentially giving up some control of what those pictures will look like and where they will end up.

I know what you’re thinking. Can you have the best of both worlds? Yes! There IS a way to have a tasteful balance of social media at your wedding, while also honoring the importance and seriousness of the day. For example, during the pre- and post-wedding activities, it can be fun to encourage your wedding party and guests to use a hashtag to posts tweets, photos, or videos. Find a cute way to remind everyone of the hashtag, like the one in the photo below. This helps to keep most of the photos and videos taken that day down to a couple easy-to-find locations, rather than all over cyberspace, and it creates your own special page of moments captured by your friends and family! It’s also a good idea to change your Facebook settings to request your approval before tagged photos show up on your page, so you at least have some control over the photos of you that people will see.

Instagram our wedding

“We Are Living in a Digital World” by Laurachel is licensed under CC BY 4.0

If the idea of your guests taking photos or videos during your vows is completely unappealing to you, there are ways to discourage the use of social media at your ceremony! A sign can serve as a friendly reminder that you want your guests to truly be present for this special moment in your lives.

As a happy medium, you may like the idea of guests taking photos during the rehearsal, pre-ceremony, and reception, but not during the actual ceremony. If this is the case, have a reminder for both! Announce your unplugged ceremony with a simple message from your officiant or a sign similar to the one below, but encourage the hashtag when the party starts. After all, it’s your day! Find what YOU are comfortable and happy with, and communicate it to your guests so that everyone is on the same page.

Unplugged wedding

“So Glad We Did Unplugged” by Darcy Fawcett is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Most importantly, don’t forget to be present. Rather than getting caught up in all of the details, cherish your special day with your loved ones. Create memories and be grateful for the family and friends who came to celebrate you and your beloved.

With all that Life has to offer,


Amy Purdy // Apprentice Planner // Life Design Event Planning // Phoenix + Minneapolis

Alternatives to the Photo Booth!

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Photo booths are fast becoming a go-to favor/activity at any wedding reception!

And why not? They are fun, engage your guests and often serve as a guest book keepsake for the newlyweds.

For those of you that want the same great experience at your wedding but are looking for something just a little outside the box here are some great alternatives to your run of the mill photo booth!

Slo Mo Video Booth ::  A BIG new trend is the slow motion video booth. These are somewhat hard to find as of yet, but will be all the rage soon enough! A short video is filmed of your guests having fun and then edited together to create an awesome highlight reel for the bride and groom.

Flipbooks :: Again, guests are filmed being silly but then the booth essentially prints out the individual frames of the video and turns it into a flipbook for them to take home. This is a really fun favor!!

Caricature Artist :: A really fun treat for your guests, and pretty self explanatory.


And…if you’re sure you want to go with a photobooth, make sure to have some fun with your backdrop and/or props!


With all that Life has to offer,

Molly Bryant
Life Design Event Planning

Same Sex Wedding Business Symposium :: Presented by Life Design Event Planning

Monday, August 5th, 2013


Same Sex Wedding Business Symposium Invitation. Designed by Jill Lenius of Ali-Ink Designs

Same Sex Wedding Business Symposium Invitation. Designed by Jill Lenius of Ali-Ink Designs

Anyone that knows me knows that I have a deep passion for marriage equality so with the recent changes in the laws federally Drew and I jumped on the opportunity to begin a conversation (as Angela would say) about how to work with same-sex couples when assisting with their wedding plans. We sent out a press release and were hit with dozens of calls from potential attendees and the media. Here’s an example of one article written by FrontDoor News about us :: “Debunking the Myths of Same Sex Marriages” is here (photo in article by Largo Photography).

One of our first calls was to the awesome venue in old town Scottsdale, Arizona called The Clayton on the Park. Jane, the owner, jumped on the opportunity to offer the venue as a location for the symposium, for which we are so thankful. I hope that more people have more events there because Jane and her staff are amazing…not to mention their in-house caterer did a fantastic job!

Love the blank palate at Clayton on the Park in Scottsdale

Love the blank palate at Clayton on the Park in Scottsdale

Custom Drawn Chalkboard drawn by Jennifer Schmitt, calligrapher

Custom Drawn Chalkboard drawn by Jennifer Schmitt, calligrapher

So, in the almost 8 years we have been in business we’ve yet to truly document our thoughts and experiences working with the LGBT community. It took hours and hours of talking and organizing between me, Drew, and the Life Design Event Planning team. We asked that some of the words during our brainstorming sessions be thrown up on a chalkboard to show the similarities and the differences in the language used when planning a same-sex versus a hetero wedding.  We found it ironic (or perhaps, not) that many of the same words are used in the hetero and same-sex wedding planning communities. Catch my drift yet?

Beverage Station

Beverage Station

The beautiful and big time supporter of the LGBT community, Kym Ventola of Kym Ventola Photographer arrives to soak in whatever else she can learn about serving the gay and lesbian community.

The beautiful and big time supporter of the LGBT community, Kym Ventola of Ventola Photography arrives to soak in whatever else she can learn about serving the gay and lesbian community.

Presentation Cards Ali Ink Design

Floral donated by Fiori Floral Design

Floral donated by Fiori Floral Design

A little basic math.

A little basic math.

Out of the many here are a few other beautiful paper products provided by Jill Lenius of Ali-Ink Designs.

Out of the many here are a few other beautiful paper products provided by Jill Lenius of Ali-Ink Designs.

Presenters, Cicely Rocha-Miller and Drew Coleman of Life Design Event Planning

Presenters, Cicely Rocha-Miller and Drew Coleman of Life Design Event Planning

With a lot of passion and a few laughs (and maybe a few…just a few cuss words…sorry mom and dad) we shared and talked with our guest attendees about working with the LGBT community when planning weddings.

Drew Coleman of Life Design Event Planning hitting the ground hard with facts about Same Sex marriage.

Drew Coleman of Life Design Event Planning hitting the ground hard with facts about Same Sex marriage.

Cicely and Drew already getting laughs from the guests in attendance.

Cicely and Drew already getting laughs from the guests in attendance.

We showed films (including a preview to a short documentary we are filming with Vongspoth) which helped showcase some of the work that was being done in the community.  We even got the opportunity to show a video trailer of a gay wedding to our guests. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Chocolate covered potato chips and pop corn during movie time??? YES!

Chocolate covered potato chips and popcorn during movie time??? YES!

David Twigger, Angela Hughey, Nelson Villamon and Melanie Puskar-Blakely presenting and answering questions from our guest attendees.

David Twigger, Angela Hughey, Nelson Villamon and Melanie Puskar-Blakely presenting and answering questions from our guest attendees.

So many questions were raised to our panel and it was exciting to see the spark ignited within our attendees.

Delicious food provided by Clayton on the Park,

Delicious food provided by Clayton on the Park,

Food by Clayton on the Park

The amazing list of sponsors.

The amazing list of sponsors.

Thank you so much to the sponsors that believed in our goal and supported us every step of the way. The room was packed and it seems that there is demand for us to present again. We are in the beginning stages of planning a location for the next symposium but if  you’re interested in receiving communication about it email our Studio Queen, Molly Bryant at (or comment below) if you’d like to be on the invitation list. We maxed out at 50 guests for this round and in the future we will make these events even smaller. It’s important for the experience to be intimate and comfortable for our guests and the participants.

Here are a few quotes about what the attendees said about the symposium.

“Thought provoking and informational” – The Clayton on the Park

“Do not miss this event” – Distinctive Event Productions

“Everyone was open + honest and answered even our newby questions! Thanks!” – Cyndi Hardy Photography

“The room was filled with so much love and support and I’m honored to be able to be a part of it.” – Living Energy Events and Productions

“If you are wanting to be progressive in the LGBT wedding movement this is a great place to start.” The R2 Studio

“The symposium really opened my eyes on how we can open ourselves up to embrace everyone in the wedding industry” – Social Station

“Enlightened + Inspired + Compassionate” – Anonymous

 “So important and so very necessary!” – Opus Fromus

“Very informative and educational. Helps you get an inside look from the couples point of few” – DeAtley Events + Design

“Education is important. This is a different market that as business professionals we need to be educated and open to.” Anonymous

One last time I wanted to thank the attendees for making it a priority to attend this and for trusting us as the Gay and Lesbian Wedding Planning Experts! We are now coining ourselves as “Modern Union Experts” because we believe…well…you’ll find out at the next symposium.

Vongspoth :: Cinematography of documentary, gay wedding and of the event.

Fiori Floral Design :: Event Floral (and shot the pictures above, THANKS GINA!)

Chameleon Chair Collection :: Chair Pad Covers

Classic Party Rentals :: Tables and Linens

Jennifer, Schmitt, calligrapher ( :: Chalkboard Design

The Clayton on the Park :: Venue, Chairs, Catering, Beverage Host, Awesomeness

Ali Ink Custom Invitations and Stationery :: Invitation and all things paper

Modern Wedding Scenes :: Projector

HERO :: Panel + Community Resource

One Community :: Panel + Community Resource

Also thank you to David and Nelson for being a part of the panel as well!

If you are a vendor and you’d like to support the next symposium please email me at We’d love any assistant possible to make this as amazing for all involved!

Alright, I guess I have chatted your ear off long enough. Thank you again for your support and we look forward to doing this again really soon!

With all that Life has to offer,


Cicely Rocha.Miller // Event Consultant // Life Design Event Planning // Phoenix + Minneapolis

A Fun Venue for a Wedding in Minneapolis

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Those looking for a non-traditional but fun and beautiful venue for their wedding in Minneapolis should look no further than Aria.  This urban warehouse boasts original brick walls, wonderfully high ceilings, and elegant crystal chandeliers.  At the same time, it’s a blank canvas that can be transformed into your vision with a little help from some of the great event vendors Minneapolis has to offer.



Photo Credit :: Joe Lemke Photography

Aria was previously a theater and stays true to that essence with chic mezzanine lounges and fully functional dressing rooms.  They allow and encourage decor to be hung from the ceiling (you know we love that!) using the theater catwalks that are still in place. It’s the perfect spot to “put on a show” and amaze your guests with an experience they’ll never forget!!


Photo Credit :: Joe Lemke Photography

Turning Trends into Reality :: Neon + Neutral

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

I love the idea of taking fun fashion trends and incorporating them into weddings! AND, since I am a child of the 80′s, of course I’m in love with the resurgence neon is making. The best part is it’s been updated and modernized on the runways by mixing with neutrals. If the idea of using a bunch of bright neon colors in your wedding sounds like the stuff nightmares are made of, take a look at this!

neon neutral

“Kendra Scott Wedding Design Inspiration: Summer Wedding: Grey + Yellow” by Kendra Scott Designer Jewelry is licensed under CC BY 4.0

How fun is that??

The key with not being overwhelmed by super bright colors is to add them in little pops! A fun manicure, shoe or belt is just the right touch; and try giving your bridesmaids separates to pair neon + neutral perfectly. For the gentleman, khaki suits and fantastic ties! On your table use a white or taupe linen and let the color shine in your paper products, favors or most importantly, the flowers. Flowers are the only thing with even half a chance of naturally being neon…so play that up!! Above all, have a good time with this. This is a fun, flirty look and could be just right for that special couple!

With all that Life has to offer,


Life Design Event Planning