Archive | March, 2012

A Mani Mela Bride: Brianna (Part II) – Venue Planning

30 Mar

Eat a cupcake? Now THAT is great advice for the planning bride!

Last week I gave you a brief overview of my introduction to the world of wedding planning, and this week I want to go more in depth with you. I know that personally, I have found the advice and experience of other brides particularly helpful in my own journey through planning; I only hope that my experiences can be half as enlightening to brides in the thick of their own planning, too.

So, the ring is on your finger, your entire families are happy as can be, and then what?  As I mentioned, first and foremost, worry about the venue. My fiance’s family and my own are very large, and include very large networks of friends. We both knew our guest list (something to be considered as you tour venues) would undoubtedly reach over 400 people – an astronomical number by most Midwestern wedding standards.  We wanted to pick a venue that would be easily accessible to our families and friends, something that wouldn’t require any excessive travelling for the majority of our guests. Luckily, both of our families are from the same town, so that made it relatively easy to pick a location for venues. Unluckily for us, there are only approximately two places near our hometown that could  1) fit at least 400 people, and 2) look nice not only for a reception, but also for a ceremony.

Within two weeks of our engagement, we set up an appointment to visit a golf club we had our hearts set on: Riverview Greens in Stewartville, MN.

This gorgeous golf center looks out on to the stunning landscape of the golfing greens, and features amazing wooden arched ceilings. We fell in love with the large, sloping windows that bring the most amazing natural light in to the whole room. We knew the second we walked in that we would be getting married here. Sure enough, we booked it that day and officially cemented our wedding date for September 22nd, 2012.  Not only will this venue be beautiful for an evening reception, but it will be an exceptional venue to have our actual wedding ceremony at, too. My advice to brides is to pick a venue that you feel comfortable in, and one you can envision your celebration taking place at. If it feels right, you’ll know it – much like the feeling you get when you try on *the* dress (more on that later).

Shortly after booking our venue, we sat down to write out an exact wedding guest list. Keep in mind, this can take the better part of an afternoon, or two, or three (if you’re indecisive and unable to focus on one thing for too long like me). It is important to have a fairly accurate estimation of how many guests you expect before you sign on a venue, however. My fiance’s sister was married just seven months prior to our engagement, so we based our estimation off of her guest list.  We wanted to get our own list nailed down to be as exact as possible, as soon as possible. This is important to do as soon as possible, as this number will dictate many of the decisions you make regarding ordering invitations, centerpieces, favors, food, and on and on.

The next things to worry about booking include photography, videography, and DJ services. But you’ll have to stay tuned to find out how I navigated the “booking” of my own wedding, and the advice I have for brides in this stage of planning.


A Mani Mela Bride: Brianna

23 Mar

Planning a wedding is a unique experience. It’s one of the most exciting times in a girl’s life. By the time you get engaged, you may have already planned out every detail of your dream wedding – but if you’re like the majority of women, you are being thrust in to a world of planning, nitpicking, and detailed decisions you may never have even thought about. Of course, these experiences are different for everyone, but Mani Mela has asked me, Brianna, to share my own experience as a bride-to-be, in the hope that it might help other brides gain perspective on the world of engagement and weddings. I want to be clear that I am in no way endorsing Mani Mela, or any vendors, I am merely speaking from my own experiences. The goal here is to be honest and candid, and to be an outlet for future brides, to help you grasp what it’s like to plan a wedding. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments section, and I will respond as promptly as I can.

As of March 22, 2012 I have exactly six months to go until my wedding. I’ve been engaged since Memorial weekend of 2011, one of the happiest weekends of my whole life. My fiance, Jake, proposed to me on our two year anniversary. It went a little something like this – I opened the present he had wrapped so carefully for me, to uncover the book (I’m a bit of a book-worm) I had been wanting. I flipped the book open to find a hole cut through the pages, and inside laid a black box that didn’t look like your average engagement ring box – it looked more like a necklace box. I didn’t expect anything, I was so happy at the thought of a gorgeous new necklace, so you can imagine my surprise when I opened the box to see the most stunning, perfect, ring of my dreams waiting for me, and my then-boyfriend down on one knee in front of me. It was the best surprise of my life! (After the shock of the proposal wore off a bit, I exclaimed “YOU CUT THE BOOK?!” and lo and behold, he had also purchased a readable, un-cut version of the book. I really did still want to read it! :])

My fiance and I on the day of our engagement

After all the happy tears, exciting phone calls, and toasts to the happy new couple, the reality of the planning sets in. Lucky for me, I enjoy planning events. If you’re not like me, you’ll either learn to love it, or find someone else to do the planning for you. There are so many things to consider and book quickly – so you can reserve your date before it gets snatched up. We were lucky, we knew we’d be engaged for about a year and a half, so we had plenty of time to really research all of our vendors. If you are planning to be engaged less than a year, you really need to book your venues and various services quickly. Things to book first are venue, photography ( especially since you need to get engagement photos done), and videography. From my experience, these services get booked fast and way out in advance in a short amount of time. And of course, ladies – finding a dress in plenty of time to get it ordered and shipped to you is key as well. This is only the beginning of a plethora of meetings, bookings, taste-testings, fittings, and more which start the fabulous and fun journey in to wedding planning.

To find out my experiences booking venues, and other ups and downs with wedding planning, check back next week for the next installment of A Mani Mela Bride: Brianna.

ISES 2012 Star Awards

20 Mar

The Minneapolis/St. Paul ISES chapter hosted their annual Star Awards earlier this month at the Nicollet Island Pavilion and Mani Mela was happy to donate some fun for the event! The theme was the Bootlegger’s Ball, so we went all out with a stunning black and white candy buffet! A big thank you to laurenb photography for capturing all the delicious details!



2012 Optum Pro Cycling Team Presentation

8 Mar

This January, Mani Mela was excited to be part of Optum Pro Cycling’s 2012 Team Launch presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies Team. This was an exciting night for Optum’s Cycling’s fans, as attendees were invited to watch a team presentation and discussion before mingling with the team for food and drinks. The evening was a great success, and Mani Mela was very proud to be in charge of the event management, including florals, linens, and the candy buffet! Events like this are why we are in the works to launch our sister company, which will focus primarily on corporate events such as this team launch.

The team launch took place in downtown Minneapolis at the super-chic Guthrie Theater. The pictures you see below were taken by the amazing Tim & Madie Photography. They did a fantastic  job capturing this spectacular evening! We can’t thank them enough, and we highly recommend their photography services! Seriously, they’re great!

The Mani Mela team having fun

The brand new Optum Car 

Beautiful orchids and branches welcoming guests

The delicious candy buffet – all orange and silver snacks

Orange orchids add a touch of flair

Guests enjoying the tasty orange candy bar

Orange and gray details add a touch of team spirit

Buttons for admittance to the event

Tasty treats – rock candy, carrot cupcakes, and more!

If you would like Mani Mela to manage your corporate event, head on over to our website to see what we can do for you. Get in touch with us by calling 612.889.2687, or by e-mail at We’d love to hear from you!

Mani Mela Beauty’s New Site!

2 Mar

Our websites have been down for WAY too long, but don’t think we haven’t been trying to fix that! We have been working hard to get them up and running so all of our brides and followers can keep up to date with us! Today we have some exciting news – our Mani Mela Beauty website is LIVE and ready to go! Just go to to see all of our hard work! On our website you’ll see our hair and makeup artistry, smokin’ hot before and after pictures, team member profiles, and more! We are so excited to share this with you! Let us know what you think, and check back soon to find out when our other sites will be live!