Archive for May, 2007

Sormeh Shafaie and Ryan Slater

Friday, May 25th, 2007

Picture it. A gorgeous Persian beauty walks into my office. With dark raven hair and smoldering brown eyes, she could easily conjure images of marble palaces, brilliant silk cushions and a desert oasis.

Picture it. She lives in Cape Girardeau.

Sormeh Shafaie will hands down be one of the most beautiful brides I have in 2007. Sormeh is a talented Interior Designer and wanted a wedding with spectacular designer touches! And man did she have them…

The gentlemen of the wedding party all wore black Armani suits with silver and black silk pinstriped ties. Although the ties were custom made by Charvet in France, the couple selected the fabric at Mr. Ooley’s in Oklahoma City. I just adore Mr. Ooley’s and have several nice things from there. Mr. Ooley’s continues to be one of the reasons why I plan on marrying well.

The bridesmaids of the party wore 1950′s inspired cocktail dresses in chocolate brown silk and Sormeh stole the show in an ivory silk mercado gown with hand-beaded design work. She was beautiful!

Not missing a beat, Sormeh brought her boss Terry and co-worker Evelyn to St. Louis to custom create all the wedding flowers. After 20 years in the industry, I thought I had seen some talent but Terry rocked my world with his couture look. They did an amazing job and it was such a gift to see people who love the bride, help the bride. The all ivory flowers with the chocolate and black accents gave a designer feel to everything.

I connect with Sormeh because she and I have a creative soul. We encountered what many families encounter when you merge heritage, tradition, style and vision…it isn’t easy. Families and vendors often see only one aspect of a wedding and that becomes their focus. When Sormeh and I have a project, we have to look at the entire vision! I often hear, as I heard that night, “It is more than I ever imagined”. Good. I did my job.

Sormeh and Ryan start a new life together in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Friends and family went back to Oklahoma City, Cape Girardeau and Iran. To grandma, thank you for making such a beautiful piece of art for me and then carrying it in your luggage from Iran to St. Louis. I cherish it and it is proudly displayed on my office wall.

And to Sormeh…I’m grateful to be one of your designer touches.

Rob Schaefer

The Pulaski Bank Employee Appreciation Dinner

Friday, May 18th, 2007

When I think of Bill Donius, I always think of the Salt-N-Pepa song “What a man, what a man, what a mighty good man”.

Yes he is…

And of course he would have the most talented and charming Executive Assistant in the world, Miss Helen Liu. From the first moment that I met Helen, I adored her and am proud to say that she will be a cherished friend for life. Helen is the total package…beauty, brains and style. My kind of woman! Helen and I first worked together for a United Way Event and it was hosted by Bill in his home. I could write an entire blog about Bill’s home and art collection but I will just sum up by saying that Bill is a rare person with an incredible appreciation for beauty.

Helen and the planning committee really created a special evening for the guests. With a “fish” theme in mind, nautical blue was chosen as the linen color and centerpieces of fish bowls, floating plants and real fish decorated every table. Bars, placecard tables and tall cab tables were drenched in real fishing nets and I loved the way they puddled over the tables. Shells, coral, glass floats and faux crabs accented everything and really enhanced our theme.

From the hors d’oeuvre trays with fish sculptures and lights… to the blue “Hooked on Pulaski” martini with an edible “sand” rim, all of the special touches made this a company party of company parties. It was a real example of how to think outside the box and make your employees feel special and pampered (in Bill Donius style with a little Rob magic thrown in for good measure). The vanilla bean cheesecake with pate sucre crust garnished with a wave made out of blue chocolate might have helped too…

Helen, you did an amazing job and it was an honor working with you. Despite my torn Achilles Tendon, I had a toe-tapping time…someone told me I looked distinguished with my cane. “Distinguished” was not quite the word I was looking for but I’ll take what I can get. And you looked amazing!

And to Bill Donius, Salt-N-Pepa says it best,

“He dresses like a dapper don, but even in jeans…He’s a God-sent original…”

Rob Schaefer

The Cohen Family B’nai Mitzvah 02/10/2007

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

It was right after my big Seminar at Neiman Marcus that inspiration struck. Steve, Kathy, Lisa, Debbie, Gary and myself were seated around the Becker’s kitchen table eating pasta (Steve makes delicious pasta).  Lisa Cohen started telling me about Abby and Andrew’s B’nai Mitzvah in February of 2007. So I took it upon myself to plan it on the spot and help create an event appropriate for both a boy and a girl…”The Cohen Family B’nai Mitzvah…A Magical Moment Frozen In Time”.

Abby is 13 going on 23 and Mr. Andrew is a very gifted young man with an old soul. We all agreed that we wanted the ultimate black and white party…modern and starkly beautiful. Abby and Andrew came in to visit and we chose black velvet overlays with a silver “diamond” effect. To me it looked like the winter night sky. For the adult tables we went with stark white overlays over black floorlength cloths. Dazzling white bengaline chair covers with crisp black satin sashes accented each adult table and complimented the glossy black chargers. The young adult chairs also had white covers but were sashed with a beautiful red and black knit scarf. Each young adult could take home their scarf and wear it all winter long. The scarves were embroidered with the monogram snowflake created out of the letter “A” with my tag line…”The Cohen Family B’nai Mitzvah…A Magical Moment Frozen In Time”. Too cute! I was fine till one little brat tried to take my scarf but I tossed a cookie at him and he ran away.

The adult tables featured amazing centerpieces created by Randy Felkey. Giant glass vases held masses of white, frosted branches. Snow filled the vases to the rim and hanging votives and icicles hung from the branches filling the air with twinkling light. Snow was drifted onto the center of each table and accented cut glass bowls frosted with white sugar. The bowls held assorted candy in black, white and red for guests to nibble. Silver vases were hanging from each wall sconce by white satin ribbons and held giant snowballs of white baby’s breath. GORGEOUS!

Abby was determined to out DIVA me and although the invitation said “Black and White Dress Only”, she wore a stunning red dress and looked like a star. I appropriately named her signature mock-tail “The Abbalicious”. It was brilliant red and quite delicious. I was quite fetching in my black suit, black and white chalk striped shirt and shiny white satin evening tie and so was Andrew. We toasted our good looks with his brilliant blue drink…”The Andrew Igloo”.

Dr. Billy Cohen came through for me and suprised the family with one of the coolest special effect machines on the market…the snow machine. When guests walked into the Coronado lobby, real snow was falling from the ceiling. It was damp and real and gathered into drifts on the floor. Guests were speechless and the children loved it! What an amazing gift to the family. I will never forget how the lobby looked with snow falling in it.

Lisa Cohen decided to really treat her guests and we created an old-fashioned cookie and cocoa station. I decorated the table to look like one massive snow drift using cotton batting and tons of artifical snow. White frosted trays of cookies were at different elevations and featured gingerbread men with little iced scarves, double fudge cookies dusted in powdered sugar and mexican wedding cake cookies… to name a few. Silver urns held piping hot cocoa and was complimented by bowls of marshmallows, cinnamon sticks, chocolate shavings, etc. It was amazing and very different.
I could go on and tell you about the giant icicles and snowflakes suspended above the young adult tables, the delectable “Chilly Billy” peppermint martinis or giant black and white portraits of Abby and Andrew but I won’t. Let’s just say that a little pasta dinner started the snowball rolling and became a vision of beauty and sophistication.

To Lisa and Billy, thank you for your faith in my vision and creative freedom to make things beautiful. I enjoyed this event as much as I did making your birthday parties so special. And to Abby and Andrew, I thank you for inspiring me. Uncle Rob is always available for Sweet 16 Parties, Graduations and LAVISH Weddings.

Just leave Dr. Billy and the martinis to me…

Rob Schaefer

The Quinn – Engel Wedding Ceremony and Reception 10-28-2006

Friday, May 4th, 2007

Kelly Quinn and I have known each other for years. Kelly is a Pharmaceutical Rep and we have done many events together. I have listened to her event speakers discuss a variety of health issues. I know more about fungal issues, gastrointestinal pain and tropical diseases than I probably want to! I was delighted when she told me that she wanted to have her ceremony and reception with me at the Coronado Ballroom. And that she was marrying a remarkable man, Dr. Scott Engel.
Kelly and I also connect as friends because we both grew up on a ranch with horses. Roy and Ruth Quinn have a beautiful ranch and stables south of St. Louis. In fact, Ruth is also an amazing floral designer and transformed their huge barn into a rehearsal dinner site. They had a down home BBQ that put the “Ewing” Family BBQ at Southfork to shame. I have watched every episode of “Dallas” and I know…
Scott’s family is from New York and it was such a treat for them to see true southern hospitality and the outpouring of kindness from the Quinn family. I also know that being from New York, they see alot of beautiful receptions and I wanted them to know that we can do it as well, if not better, in the midwest. Scott’s parents Sy and Sharon really helped make this event special. Thank you both for your lovely compliments.
Kelly and I love the color red. She chose the richest, deepest shade of red possible…pomegranate. Pomegranate red crushed satin bichon linens with an iridescent black cast glowed in the light of hundreds of candles. Mirrored finish candlesticks with massive deep red candles adorned every other table and tall centerpieces of red orchids, roses and lilies with beaded wire completed the the look. Kelly chose gold leafed chargers, black napkins and gold ballroom chairs with black cushions. Elegant menu cards were at each placesetting and the entire look was sumptuous and rich! I also loved the huge wreaths of red roses that graced the Mezzanine railings.

The wedding cake was beyond belief! The flavor was Pumpkin Spice and it had a warm, rich pumpkin taste with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger…mmmmmmm. The rich cream cheese icing and cinnamon creme anglaise just about sent the guests over the edge. One guest told me, “This tastes like fall and sin”. I took that as a compliment …a creepy one… but a compliment none the less.

The multi-tiered Cinderella creation was iced in a deep champagne Italian Buttercream. Edible gold leafed bands wrapped around each tier and was detailed with dark chocolate piping that looked almost black. A huge medallion of dark chocolate rested on the center tier and resembled a cameo. It featured their mongram in gold lettering. Many guests told me it was the most beautiful wedding cake they had ever seen.

Kelly and Scott, you did a great job. From the bridesmaids gowns in the deepest iridescent red, stunning bouquets of black magic and champagne roses and the huge screens of sparkling votives, it could not have been more beautiful.

Jock, Miss Ellie, J.R., Sue Ellen, Bobby and Pam would agree.

Rob Schaefer