As we kick off our amazing Brides Live Wedding contest (the chance for one very lucky couple to win the luxury wedding of a lifetime), we are so excited to announce that we'll be working with fabulous event planning duo, A.a.B. Creates. Since launching in 2003, co-founders Mayra Castillo (above, left)and Xochitl Gonzalez, have designed hundreds of celebrations. And their creativity will definitely be put to the test since many of the wedding details they'll need to incorporate in Brides Live Wedding—like the dress, cake, and décor—will be voted on by our Facebook community! Below, we ask Mayra and Xochitl what makes an A.a.B. wedding pop, which bridal trends they love, what's in the works for Brides Live Wedding, and more.
BRIDES: A.a.B. Creates weddings are always beautiful, but very unique to the couple. In your mind, what is the hallmark of an A.a.B. Creates wedding?
A.a.B. Creates: I think for us, our approach is part of what makes our weddings stand out. Our goal is to create a day, night, and/or weekend that's a grander scale version of how the couple entertains (or hopes to entertain) at home. So, I think there is a certain warmth that comes across because of that. In general, A.a.B. weddings are all about creating a once in a lifetime experience for the couple, as well as their guests. Our celebrations are about conveying, in party form, the essence and personal style of the couple. They are about details that make the guests feel like they were treated to something special, and creating moments that can't be replicated. We love to make people say ooh. And we love having guests participate, be it via an interactive escort card display or gathering 200 people to light Japanese lanterns. Our weddings are purposeful, but with surprising design, detailed tabletops, and a couple of grand "that was awesome" moments. We definitely aren't afraid of a little theater or a sense of humor!
Photo: Dave Robbins Photography
BRIDES: Which wedding trends do you love and hope to incorporate into Brides Live Wedding?
A.a.B. Creates: I am loving the trend of working unexpected props, objects, and furniture into weddings and I'm excited to develop that trend in the Brides Live Wedding. I also love how the internet has virtually eliminated the gap between what's hot in fashion and home decor and what's hot in weddings. It used to take years for a color to go from runway to bridal and now that lag is practically non-existent. I definitely want to see the Brides Live Wedding reflect some of the textures, patterns, and palettes that we've been seeing come down the runways.
Photo: Gruber Photographers
BRIDES: Complete the sentence: A good wedding planner should always be...?
A.a.B. Creates: Two (or more) steps ahead of their client.
BRIDES: A lot of the elements in Brides Live Wedding will be voted on by Facebook users. How do you plan to tackle a wedding that's constantly developing and that includes a some details that are beyond your control?
A.a.B. Creates: Luckily, planning most weddings is like trying to shoot a moving target, so that part of it will not be new. In fact, it's almost a relief that once something is chosen by Facebook users, it will be decided. For a lot of couples, the hardest part of planning is over thinking each decision, so it's exciting to see how this goes with Facebook users at the wheel! I think the challenge for us is going to be combining elements of the lucky couple's personalities with the details that the Facebook community votes on.
Photo: Inku Photography
BRIDES: What is your advice for brides that can't settle on one theme or overarching design concept?
A.a.B. Creates: First, I think brides put too much pressure on themselves to pick a "theme" partly because by picking one kind of thing, you automatically eliminate another. It's better to set out some style guidelines for yourself, things that will keep you on track (i.e. blue, graphic, modern). A concept can be broad enough to include different looks within the same style. Stick to your gut and look at your personal, day-to-day style. And don't limit your inspirations to other weddings—look at movies you love, graphic and interior design. Copying other weddings is the number one mistake I think a lot of brides make and it's the difference between having a wedding that's both modern and timeless and a wedding that's trendy.
BRIDES: If brides had to pick one part of their wedding to splurge on, what should it be and why?
A.a.B. Creates: We had a face-off on this one. I said amazing photography because it lasts forever. Mayra said great catering because it affects service and guest experience—and frankly, if it isn't about the guest experience, why not just elope?
Photo: Dave Robbins Photography
BRIDES: What five elements would your dream wedding have to include?
A.a.B. Creates: An amazing person to marry. Great food. Great music: Emotionally poignant at the ceremony, highly danceable at the reception. Amazing alcohol. Fantastic linens—trust me, people notice.
BRIDES: Since the Brides Live Wedding will most likely be a destination wedding for the winning couple, what tips do you have for other brides planning out-of-town events?
A.a.B. Creates: Hire someone you trust... and then trust them. You are not there. If they refer you to someone, it's because they know. Don't let your internet research make you crazy.