Are you a Broke Bride? Your Not Alone !

3 Dec

bride_gone_wilde_slideThere is no real way to hide the facts ! We know that every bride to be has a dream of what they want their wedding to be. Often filled with cascading floral, rich detailed linen, silk draping , luxe lounge areas in a venue that will wow even the most esteemed. But the reality of a “real” Wedding is that it costs money . Every element, detail and individual assigned to make your dream idea a reality comes with a bill that leaves lots of brides screaming broke!  “Edna” (whose name was obviously changed for this)  said, I just don’t have it – I’ve penny pinched, robbed peter to pay Paul and still I can’t get what it is I want and that is often the silent cry of many brides who dare to admit it. PENNY pINCHING A typical bottom line low-budget is 25-35 thousand dollars for a full wedding,  standard is 50,000  and upwards to 6 figures in the quarter range – at least for our clients but not everyone is in the same boat . We created the travel boxes which is simply your wedding design in a box for as low as $500.00 for the budget bride with no service fees attached and tried to educate them through the process that whatever your budget is  or isn’t. You can still have a beautiful wedding …it’s in the details.  It’ll just come with some compromise , recycling a few items you may have and lots of hard work.

SOME SERIOUS FACTS that you must consider …..Unless you want a White Castle Wedding ….. (This is so real)

white castle weddingYou can’t have a guest list of 300 with a 24 person bridal party unless you plan on force fitting them in a local fast food restaurant which we do not suggest . Budgeting for your wedding is a per person rule of thumb. If you add more , you will pay more…..My bottom lip is still in pain from hitting the floor after stumbling across this photo pictured to the left.

Next rule: You can not have filet mignon , lobster or any of the sort . Asking your caterer for other options of food with an artistic approach is using wisdom. I’ve been to so many wedding where the food was simple but made fancy. It is always in the  presentation. One of our 2014 Trend watch alerts is unique food bars, with ready-made options and over the top choices  ….Mash Potato Bar with 6 choices of cheeses and 6 choices of toppings served in Martini glasses , Pasta Bar with 4 styles of pasta , 4 sauces & 8 topping options also served in Martini glasses…it helps with portions and the good ole Breakfast Bar… or you can opt in for a Chic McDonald’s Soiree ….I’m so kidding but I couldn’t help myself by showing you this hilarity…The truth is if you want to serve Hamburgers and French Fries then do it but make sure the look of your overall event is consistent with its offering wed23md

Ben and Taylor Wedding-details-0013

You have to do more yourself ! This means assembling a team to help you pack, stack, stamp, nip, tuck, cut and bring items to the venue for you. Everything from favors to menu cards and other décor items can be put together by you! The web offers a vast selection of FREE, yes I said FREE templates that you can use for your event. These are the components that you need to look for and work on tapping into for your budget wedding

DO NOT – AND I MEAN ABSOLUTELY DO NOT buy your dress from an online retailer that says they offer an affordable name brand dress like this atrocious  dress….I think I fainted just looking at it…..Just pick up a gently used one from a resell shop


Negotiating with a day of coordinator to ensure everything is set up in time….I almost ways recommend a bride NOT use their girlfriends or cousins for things like setting up the day of ,  cooking the food your guests will eat or baking their cake. Unless they have super skills and a track record of experience ….Just say NO….If shelling out cash for a fully catered meal is not an option – decide on a cocktail reception, or host a sunrise ceremony with a continental breakfast reception or my favorite a high tea reception with desserts and light sandwiches with an assortment of teas. And not a dessert menu like this: HAVE MERCY ……Cake trio

Shop local but ask about seasonal flowers and other options for table top décor that can double in both the ceremony and reception …a great and affordable wow approach is renting or purchasing cylinders in an array of sizes and adding floating candles with single bulb vases of hydrangea


Or my all time favorite which has been used in even a higher end wedding ….Picking branches that have lost its connection to the tree it once served and spray painting them in a color of your choice. Isn’t this fabulous …..Your Welcome !


Being on a budget has nothing to do with an inadequacy to exchange vows I do’s can be done anywhere by a local pastor or justice of the peace . Your budget does have everything to do with what you are capable of doing to celebrate your big day and that capability comes with boundaries that you should not cross. I was a bride so I know its not easy and that’s why we created the travel box product for the budgetnistas but I do know a few brides who I interviewed for this post that said that if they  could go back and change a few things….they would!

But I do know some super success stories like these lovelies who reworked everything from coat racks they crackled, old lanterns they scored online on sale or just simply used hydrangea that offset the color in their dresses…..

Ben and Taylor Wedding-details-0007

green and blue wedding wilmington nc photo_031

  Ben and Taylor Wedding-Bridal Party-0024

You  may effortlessly try to make something work or try to force your designer to make it work but if you cant do it right don’t do it at all! Our suggestions are from past sightings  that we’ve seen happen in weddings all over the United States. Brides have good intentions but no one really wants to say …Sorry girl you just can’t do that but of course I will. So When your planning or designing  always take into consideration that you need someone to look in from outside the box to help you decide whether the decision you are making will score a home run or a spot on NO way girl…..

Until the next grapevine is juiced …..Try not to embark on a champagne adventure when you know your on a beer budget ! Just make what you have work! Life still happens after the I do’s….

Have questions about planning, designing or comments – Ask them here


HBO’s EastBound & Down final hit! A Black Friday Special Post

29 Nov


Since its Black Friday and all  of the insane people including you probably braved the cold to score deals on everything from electronics to household goods we only thought it was right to put together this special blog for all the special people who braved through seasons of hilarity that often required a drip, drip trip to the bathroom or an occasional stomach pain. The show known for its raunchiness , straight talk and homeruns for comedy swung its final bat a few weeks ago but the memories we take from it all include laughter from good people

ebadWe can recall a few months back  had the opportunity to attend  the July 4th Fete for HBO’s hit show Eastbound & Down  . Eastbound & Down was an American comedy television series broadcast on HBO, starring Danny McBride as Kenny Powers, a former professional baseball pitcher, who after an up and down career in the major leagues is forced to return to his hometown middle-school in Shelby, North Carolina, as a substitute physical education teacher. The show was produced by famed comedian Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.

Unique floral pieces by A Boxed Event

Unique floral pieces by A Boxed Event

The style was a laid back picnic vignette with butt seating that including a mix of Umbrella Tables and lounge pieces providing by AbeL Custom Lounge & Specialty Rentals with the event & floral design by A Boxed Event for the 2nd year in a row . The Independence day colors added a pop of excitement for this private event that took place at an undisclosed location overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.


While cast and crew members enjoyed a day off , I couldn’t help but think what we would do as a world when the season came to an end with the finale show . Of course I wanted to ask but I remained cordial and vowed to grab hold of the past seasons on DVD to get my Eastbound, Kenny Powers , BOOM fix ! It was his crazy behavior that made so many fall in love with Him .

Custom made floral piece by A Boxed Event using baseballs

Custom made floral piece by A Boxed Event using baseballs

When Eastbound finally came to an end a few Sundays back in its final season when HBO decided to not order  another season , it bought tears to a few eyes and a few cuss words to the mouths of die hard fans I know . The show outlasted a lot of expectations and I’m happy it did. It not only bought hilarious fun to the big screen , it bolstered our economy in Wilmington NC and again gave us an opportunity to work with the film/TV industry .

kp3Eastbound will probably be remembered for a lot of things ………..And Kenny Powers for a little bit more. What are your thoughts ? Will you miss the show? Are you a die hard fan? If you could say 1 thing to the cast or to Powers himself what would it be?


And of course If you haven’t had a chance to check out an Eastbound Episode …We’ve helped you out . Your Welcome

Until The next Grapevine is juiced


11th Annual Willie Stargell Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament

25 Nov 11th annual logo

11th annual logoA few weekends  ago  we had the humbling opportunity to be a small part of an amazingly big event backed by a big cause . The Willie Stargell Foundation celebrated their 11th Annual Golf tournament by hosting more than 30 celebrities that include actors, actresses , Olympians , other Hall of famers and sports figures,  course Wilmington & Atlanta’s most elite attended. The event,  celebrated through a weekend of socials, dinner gala’s and golf tourneys.  It truly took a community of unselfish individuals to pull off this amazing event. We’ve learned so much about “Pop” since we began assisting with this event 3 years ago and truly his legacy lives on by the gathering of so many people from all over the world, the giving and the resources this foundation provides . I recall the day I stumbled across this quote and knew that our commitment to this organization would be long-term , and we would perform with passion, dedication remembering that everything we did was a way to remind people of the gift God gave Willie Stargell and the gift Willie Stargell gave us as a community.


The Willie Stargell Foundation provide  funds to support kidney disease research and treatment for those  individuals suffering with kidney disease. The full event weekend is the annual celebration to raise those funds and celebrate the lives that the foundation has impacted.

988747_548260198583155_858327946_nThe weekend kicked off with a Pre Welcome at The Beautiful Landfall Hampton Inn where guests dined on delectable’s from Port City Chop House and listened to the tunes of Jazz while they checked in.  The room was again transformed with lounge seating and classroom style seating for the autograph signing      1402327_10202309071912680_148541812_o

Khalilah O. of A Boxed Event with JoAnn Fox of Intracoastal Realty the host of the VIP Hospitality Room

Khalilah O. of A Boxed Event with JoAnn Fox of Intracoastal Realty the host of the VIP Hospitality Room

The room was laid out cocktail style and included both sit down and lounge seating. Landfall Hampton in offered both indoor and outdoor seating that provided  a stunning atmosphere for guests to enjoy cigars.

It continued to the VIP Party at a private location in Landfall where Ryan and Denise Legg of Mega Corp Logistics The Entry Way to the VIP Welcome Party opened their doors to an evening of upscale fun. Guests were greeted by a 150 foot laid red carpet, Violist and a customized Step & Repeat .

Guests  dined on food provided by Bon Appetite including seafood tastefully displayed on this custom-made Ice Sculpture of Willie “Pop” Stargell  By Ski Of IceSensations of Wilmington NC.stargell-7

STargell 2013

                                                        Lounge furniture provided by Abel-Custom Lounge &  Specialty Rentals

Guests had the choice of bar style seating in front of the fire-place, tending to the cigar bar and wine pairing in the lower area which boasted a wine cellar and custom roulette table or dancing to the tunes of James Chappell from The Winner Is

1454716_547821255293716_1694200457_n and DJ Battle under a clear tent provided by Party Suppliers and Rentals with Lounge pieces from AbeL – Custom Lounge & Specialty rentals – All designed by A Boxed Event . Margaret and james

Our vision at both locations was to use The Stargell Signature Black White & Gold

using a mix of low café style tables and lounge seating    to perfect the look at the Legg home.  It was a well planned & orchestrated set up for a cocktail social for VIP Guests that included The Cochran Firm who was this year’s as well as last year’s presenting sponsor,  sports hall of famers, Olympians , and actors/actresses including Lyndie Greenwood from Sleepy Hollow.

Khalilah O. from A Boxed Event with Lyndie Greenwood of Sleepy Hollow

Khalilah O. from A Boxed Event with Lyndie Greenwood of Sleepy Hollow

I am a firm believer that team work makes the dream work and this week was proof in the pudding . Because non profits thrive off of everyday dollars of individuals like you and I consider making a donation to The Stargell Foundation directly – Tell them A Boxed Event sent you! And in the words of Willie “Pop” Stargell ….


To view the rest of the pictures from the weekend of events , you can go here : A Boxed Event , or The Willie Stargell Foundation on Facebook

Until the next grapevine is juiced

Vendor Edition – WHO ARE YOU …really?

5 Nov


I tried to convince myself why I shouldn’t write this but it didn’t outweigh all the reasons I should. The Wilmington event industry among others is a  tell all, cliquish group that can be cut throat and may possibly disappoint you if you let it. You sincerely have to know who you are ,  be in it to win it and bear tough skin or else…..  Unless your like the few select designers or other industry folks I know who have camaraderie & respect each others talents. You should be  confident enough in what you do to tell another designer that the work they just did was amazing, I’m also candid enough to tell them that something was missing…..Are You?


We all enter it with high hopes of garnering the press we believe we deserve but just because you think you’re good doesn’t mean that someone else does…..Often you’ll measure your achievements by Facebook likes or twitter followers but that is definitely not an accurate representation of your who you are. People often don’t hit the like button when they should because there to busy hating and wondering how you pulled off such a display of great work. Then you’ll always run across an ad for some show that lists the so called top or best vendors only being showcased but  please don’t let that discourage you – it’s part of their marketing because truth is your only as good as you believe you are.


We all strive for perfection to get better at what we do and often can be discouraged along the way especially when the phone isn’t ringing or the emails aren’t coming. Even worse when a seasoned veteran in the industry  criticizes you for continued education in your field ….I think we all still have a lot to learn and adding more knowledge to your arsenal is not a bad thing but a smart one.  Honestly I’ve been there! But I realized that you are your own evangelist and need to preach the gospel of your company, its message and what sets you apart. And I’ve learned to understand others intentions when they open their mouth. What worked for one person will NOT work for you. Big Rule – DONT TRY TO WORK SOMEONE ELSES VISION ….Very distasteful!


As event vendors we pride ourselves on long nights, fully booked weekends while knee-deep in details for the next event and we can sometimes find ourselves muffled ..Not in our work but in the client we served! YEP I said that to…I’ve always been a firm believer in the motto that the client is always right but after being a part of this industry for more than 7 years I’ve changed my tune. Their truly are clients that you shouldn’t work with or for. They pride themselves with incomprehensible budgets and lots of demands . They micro-manage you while you do your job and add, add –on’s with no change in their budget. I usually Blank Stare – to keep me from laughing before I professionally ask if their kidding. Brides want what they see on TV, in print or in some cases they actually concoct grandiose events in their minds that their budget doesn’t qualify for.  I know we’ve all been there but honesty is the best policy. You have to give and set realistic expectations because communication is everything. You also have to decide if this event will help or hurt your business. If I can’t add it to the portfolio I have to ask myself if I should move forward, do you?


Now that I got that off my chest let me be 100% clear – I Love the BUDGET BRIDE…I founded The Travel Box for her! She’s savvy and often has hands on skills to do a lot herself with expectations at the level it should be,  not like the bride who has $500.00, is super picky  and wants tents, customized draping , crystal chandeliers , 10 lounge areas mixed with Philip Starke Ghost chairs and  orchids everywhere …Here’s another moment when I blank stare….


TV can often give the wrong impression of what it takes to plan, coordinate and design a full event to the magnitude shown on air. Most floral they see on TV are usually priced in the high 10 thousand range or more and that doesn’t include the rentals, service fee , day of coordinating and impactful custom-built design components.


When we make up in our mind who we are as vendors, we have to stick by it and stand on it. It’s ok to toss in an incentive but don’t feel the need to give more or sell yourself short in hopes of a referral ….Get your worth because after the wedding is over, it’s over !  Let’s be 100% real some of us do find long-term friendships with some of our brides but not all of them. There is a super thin line between a business relationship and a friendship. One can often influence the other but a real friend will respect you and the fact that this is how you pay your bills, feed your kids, pay for your habitual shoe shopping fetish and build your empire.


So until the next grapevine is juiced….Who are ? Remember your more than just your next event! And please y’all …stand your ground!






Adults Play -YachtVentures

22 Oct
Wilmington's most stunning Yachts docked at Marine Max Marina on Saturday evening for Yachtventures

Wilmington’s most stunning Yachts docked at Marine Max Marina on Saturday evening for Yachtventures

The Wilmington Children’s Museum known for their mission and dedication to kids threw an adult only event on Saturday October 19th 2013. The location although seen during normal business hours would not give you the impression of the perfect location for a special event if you don’t have vision, It was absolutely phenomenal. The Marine Max Marina was completely transformed from head to toe to welcome some of Wilmington’s Socialites, Museum Supporters and Individuals of all kind. Armed with an impressive sponsor list and steering committee, The Children’s Museum plight to entertain Wilmywoods Big kids with Yachtventures hit the nail on the head.

This outside the box event included live entertainment , delectable food, full open bar and a cigar lounge while showcasing  some of the most elite Yachts that dock off the coast from the local area. The Yachts Masters themselves showed off everything their babies on water had to offer from  master bedroom suites to up fitted kitchens and party areas . Event attendees toured , sat, experienced and coveted. It was the Fat Cat and Suture Self that made me want to put a few dollars away and work towards birthing my own water baby before the next decade enters in…they were by far one of the loveliest yachts we’ve laid eyes on.

Khalilah O., Event Stylist at A Boxed Event aboard one of the more coveted yachts

Khalilah O., Event Stylist at A Boxed Event aboard one of the more coveted yachts

The design aesthetics of the event fit the location with a blue and white with red nautical inspired look adding a chevron print to modernize it . Our favorite component was the red carpet that covered the pier and walkways lined with lanterns and planter boxes filled with plants.  Although we spent most of the time smoozing with familiar faces we kept our eyes on those Sold out Justin Timberlake tickets in the silent auction.

The Childrens Museum is and will always be a vital part of our community and even though the event is over you can still help them continue the services they offer by becoming a member or making a donation directly to them , while you’re their tell them you heard some gossip that provoked you to give!

Here’s the go to link for them:

Till the next grapevine is juiced


OH SO Dope Events

16 Oct

OH SO HOT  Events

Dope – 90’s slang for over the top and amazing ……

Word-90’s slang for I agree or that’s right

Dope Events have become all the rage in Wilmington NC. In the past few months we’ve seen the Social Scene light up with the Wilmington Edition of The Iron Man 3 Premiere Party, The Pink Fashion Walk, The Great Gatsby Gala by “Style Girl” Jess James, The Studio 20 Event by Blueberry Fusion and The River Escape by The team of Escape to Sisterhood, all tastefully paired with a worthy cause. What they all had in common was that they dotted every I and crossed every T. They provoked folks of all kind to find the perfect outfit or costume, get the perfect hair do and the perfect date so that they could move to the grooves and mingle with the likes of people that they could somewhat have a conversation with , with confidence.


Gone are the days of event innocence where you can just put  a few balloons up , throw a party in Wilmywood that has a lack of consistency , direction or theme. I’ve been to a few events where the coordinators, designers, planners and party promoters obviously missed the mark. I’ve seen horror snaps on Facebook where the aesthetic was way off and heard that the entertainment couldn’t get even the most senior party attendee on the dance floor.


We’ve all been guilty of falling short in an area or 2 but don’t expect your next event to go off without a hitch if the food ran out before anyone showed up, the bar was tended by fake mixologist and the same drink tasted differently or even worst – Something  or someone you promoted would be there or happen  that enticed attendees  to buy tickets never did.


In the coming months we plan on stopping through at a series of events and telling you if we love them or if we don’t. We will be posting upcoming social scene happenings. Let us know if you’re having one we’d love to share it with our readers …..WORD!


So  till the next grapevine is juiced …..




ABE Ladies Get Social

6 Aug

The A Boxed Event team will be making an appearance at Blueberry Creative’s rebranding event Thursday. Formerly Blueberry Fusion, Blueberry Creative is joining forces with Style Girl Jess James for a Studio 54-themed party. Us gals are excited to get our groove on at the “Studio 20″ relaunch for our fellow Wilmington-based business.

Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @ABoxedEvent for the first look at the who, what, wear of the shindig.

Who else is planning to shake their groove thangs Thursday? Have any tips for being a true Dancing Queen?

Be sure to check back for all the event gossip and photos from the event.


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