Introducing our New Vendor Spotlight; Our Beauties: Zuribelle

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hello Beauties; yes I said it, you are all beautiful in your own individual and unique way, so OWN it.  It's been a while and I am glad for that because it means business is good.  

Anyhow, I am so happy to be bringing to you our very first vendor feature.  YEAH!!!! I am also particularly excited about this feature because this young lady is absolutely fabulous and excellent at what she does.  I just really love to see that; young women who are entrepreneurs striving to carve out a legacy for generations to come.  GIRLS totally rock!!!!!!  LOL!!!!!!!

Let me introduce to you, our very own Rotola Ogunye, CEO of Zuribelle, an exquisite event consulting boutique serving New York and New Jersey.  "Tola" as she likes to be called has a passion for planning exquisite, flawless and unforgettable events.  We recently worked with the Zuribelle Team and they are absolutely Ah!Mazing.  

I had a chance to speak with her and I was more than honored, I was proud to be in such good company and really can't wait to see what Zuribelle has in store for us.  See our interview below and she has a special give away to our BCG bloggers so read on .....

AJ:  So what does " Zuribelle" mean?
RO: Well Zuri means beauty in Swahili and Belle means beauty in French, so Zuribelle is Beauty

AJ:  And what kind of services do you provide?
RO: Zuribelle is an event consulting boutique that offers services from event planning and coordination to image consulting for the discerning client.

AJ: You are are more visible in the wedding industry?
RO:  Yes, while we provide services for the general population, we have a niche in the wedding industry because we have a bridal boutique where we help brides create their individual wedding style; from the dress to the centerpieces, we work closely with them to complete their entire wedding look.

AJ: Interesting concept, how did you come up with that?
RO: Well, I started with the Zuribelle Bridal Suite.  We have our own label and also carry popular designers such as Pronovias, Watters and Watters.  We also search out up and coming designers; especially African designers like Peridot and Ruby, all so that we can provide our brides with a wealth of choices when it comes to wedding gowns and bride maids dresses.  I noticed that as we styled our brides, they had additional questions about their wedding look and style, color matching, which vendors they should choose, as well as just general advice regarding their weddings.  Again since I am very passionate about events I started to offer my advice and services, so much so that couples started flying me out for their weddings to provide coordinating services!  So, we added on Zuribelle Events and our bridal boutique to help our brides with their wedding details.

AJ: WOW!!! So what is the "Zuribelle" experience?
RO:  It is an experience that evokes emotions, that puts our clients on "Cloud 9".  At the end of the night they don't want the music to stop, guests don't want to go home because they have had such an enjoyable time.  Truly a Zuribelle event is an event that would leave an indelible impression in minds forever. 

AJ: So how is it that you do all that you do (a la Niecy Nash)?
RO: LOL!!!! Of course I have a team that works with me on events and we are also very selective of the vendors we work with.  We want our clients to have the ultimate experience so we do have a list of preferred vendors that we work with to help bring their vision to reality.

AJ: So what is next for Zuribelle?
RO:  Well, we just recently joined the Munaluchi Bridal Team as a Guest writer and we are preparing for our African Bridal Showcase in Ghana later on this year.  We are hoping to build our client base and of course style many more weddings in the near future.

AJ: Who are your dream/favorite vendors?
RO: PRESTON BAILEY!!!! Munaluchi Bridal, BCG Events, Ijorere Invites, DJ Kelechi, KC Photography just to name a few

AJ: Hey thanks for adding us to that list, so what would be your dream wedding/event to plan?
RO: A Celebrity Destination Wedding.  Malia Obama'a wedding and Oprah, if she ever gets married. LOL!!!!

AJ: Well, Tola it's been a pleasure to have you here at the BCG Vendor Spotlight and we are looking forward to seeing more of you on the blog.
RO: Thanks.  And to all of your bloggers and fans out there, we have a special surprise! We will offer them a free event consultation and 10% off any Zuribelle package if they book before September 1st 2010.  Just mention BCG Blog to get your discounts!

For more about Tola and her fabulous team, check out
In the meantime here are a few images of Tola and her Team.

Pics of a Zuribelle Wedding

(Photo Credits: John Christopher Photos)

Thanks for stopping by.
Happy Blogging,
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Choosing Vendors for your Wedding Day Pt . 2

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

(Image Courtesy of The Flirty Guide)
Hello blogville, forgive me as I am enjoying my mini vaca during busy season.  LOL!!! Well this is part deux of our Tips of the Month.  We are talking about the most important day of your life; your wedding day and how to choose Top Notch vendors .  One of my girlfriends just said "You don't get a second shot at it" ... Well hopefully not .... Anyhow where did we leave off?  Yes arming yourself with information.  Please brides to be, event planners/coordinators, everyone planning an event: BE AN EDUCATED CONSUMER.  (I am also speaking to myself on this one).  Just because a vendor offers cheap prices does not mean you should hire them.  No absolutely not.  Look at your wedding as an event of a lifetime, you don't get a do over so it is important to get it right.  Hiring anyone to work on your event is a job that you will be spending your hard earned money on so, you should hire them as an employer would hire an employee to fill their open vacancies.

Here are a few ways to make sure you are "hiring" the right vendor:

1.  Check out their resume :  What is their work experience, how many years do they have in the industry, how many events do they do per year/month/week?  Do they have an event portfolio/website/blog where you can check out their work?

2.  Interview the candidate:  Make sure you have prepared a series of questions pertinent to your event and the event industry for your potential vendor.  Again remember you are trying to find a good fit for your event so you want to get the right person for the job. 

3.  References (Personal and Professional) :  Get information on past clients they have worked for as well as vendors in the industry; at least 3 each and make sure you follow up.  Ask a couple of specific and direct questions and an open ended question that provides more qualitative feedback.   Examples of some questions are:  Was the vendor professional?  Did they have a contract?  Would you recommend/use this vendor again?  Also try to limit your questions to between 3 and 5.

4.  Background check:  Hey I am not saying pull a credit report, but the web is a great resource of information on your proposed wedding vendor.  You can check out the Better Business Bureau and see what complaints have been filed; if any, and also get business ratings for the company you are trying to do business with.  Sometimes you won't find any information with the Better Business Bureau, because the business has no file with them but do check out other vendor sites such as The Knot, Project Weddings and Wedding Wire.  These provide an outlet for past clients to leave reviews, comments, complaints or concerns regarding a wedding vendor.

5.  Confirm the terms of employment:  Make sure you secure everything in writing .  Go over contracts, ensure a firm understanding of retainer, booking and cancellation fees.  Do not leave anything up to chance.  Most vendors will have addendums they can offer to their contract should you decide to add/remove services.  

6.  Trust your gut feeling:  If it doesn't feel right, it probably ain't right.  Enough said.

Again, these are just a few tips to help you pick the right vendor for your wedding day.  

One more thing though, I would like to implore brides who have had their wedding to PLEASE provide honest reviews on your vendor: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.  Help other brides  avoid those unscrupulous vendors.  However make it easier for them to choose better vendors.  For the vendors who did an excellent job, you want people to know so that they can build a client base.  Ask your vendors where you can post their reviews, their blogs? Vendor sites?  Review Form? etc. 

Well, let us know what you think?  Was this post helpful?  Should we do more tips of the month?  We want to hear from you.

Happy Blogging,
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

..... Ok albeit indirectly, however The Brides Cafe is one of those sites like Style Me PrettyBrides or more recently The Fab Bride, where fabulous weddings are featured.  I am particularly excited for this wedding feature because it is not very often (outside of celebrity weddings) that you see beautiful, stylish, black/African weddings featured on major websites.  Here is the link to the post on The Brides Cafe : Real Maryland Wedding:Cellina and Toks.

This was our Urban Chic Wedding that we posted earlier on this month and 
obviously we were not the only ones who fell in love with Cellina and Toks wedding style. Thanks to Janie and her team @ The Brides Cafe,  for continuing to feature beautiful weddings and excellent vendors.  Through her website a lot of vendors have gained recognition and credibility for the outstanding work that they do.  Her passion is evident and we are so glad to be a part of it.

It saddens me though, as I mentioned before, very few ethnic weddings are featured on major wedding media outlets. I believe our culture is so rich and beautiful and would like to see more wedding media outlets publicize our weddings as they do for other ethnic communities like the Asian, South Asian, and Jewish communities and not just a feature every once in a while. (Hmmmm....this is a blog topic for another day)

Anyhow I want to thank all my friends who worked on this amazing wedding; The Talented Zenab of ZFaces, Detail Oriented Eileen of Distinct Occassions and the Fabulous Dotun of Dotuns Photo Lounge and of course his lovely assistants; Jummy and Dami, for making this wedding one for the books.  

To my readers, followers, fans thanks again for all your love.  
Please continue to visit the blog as we still have a lot in store.  The Best is yet to come.

Happy Blogging Folks,
All my Love,
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And The Winner Is .....

Monday, July 12, 2010

So this past Saturday was the final day to get in your comments on the blog to win the "Diva" Spa Mani and Pedi from Red Door Spas and well ......... Some of you did try ... You left your comments, even going as far as our 1st posts.  However our winner is the beautiful, Ms. Deedee!!!!  She just could not be beat, leaving 1 -2 comments on the blog a day.  We CERTAINLY appreciate your presence on the blog and we hope that you will continue to stop by and leave your comments even after this contest ;). CONGRATS hon.

For the rest of you folks out there, don't worry, we still have more in store.  Just stop by the blog and hey ... you never know.

Happy blogging folks,
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Tracy and Shane - LOVE IS STILL ALIVE

Thursday, July 8, 2010

When we thought about this giveaway, we wanted to make it special.  We are all inspired by love and how we get there (in love) is always intriguing.  We received several of your "love stories" , and they were intriguing.  However, the  couple who inspired us the most were Tracy and Shane.  Their story is one that is made for the books; a Nicholas Sparks book, literally.  We love the uniqueness of their relationship and we were definitely compelled to share.  Hopefully their story will inspire many more of you to step out in love, even in the most unusual places and unexpected packages.  

"Wow. The story of Shane and Tracy. What can I say, nothing but destiny fulfilled. I had just gotten out of a very bad 2+ year relationship and wasn't looking for love. I was divorced, 28 and had a 2 year daughter that needed me. I was at work one day and feeling under the weather, when this young 19 yr old walked in and changed our lives forever. Had you told me a year ago that one Hardess biscuit, a scary movie and a broken thumb nail at the bowling alley would turn into the greatest love I've ever known...I would have thought you were crazy.

Well, Shane and I are getting married 10/16/10 and I can't believe it.  I am so thankful to God for sending me the man you read about in love novels. He opens my car door, walks on the sidewalk closest to danger, rubs my feet after a long day at work (FOR BOTH OF US), prays over us, irons our clothes at night before going home, picks up "my" daughter in the morning to take her to school- - -just to give me an extra 30mins of sleep, and the list honestly goes on. 

He does all of this and more with no sexual gratification. We are Christians and we are doing it God's way- - -we don't live together and we are not having sex- - -in any form. I said YES on 03/06/10  because of HIS HEART. He is MY KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOUR, my best friend, my smile, my partner, my side kick, my future hubby and I love him.  He is the greatest father to a child that although isn't his blood, she is his heartbeat.

The greatest thing about our relationship though, would be our unselfish giving to others. This past March we met a couple fighting against stage 4 cancer. We put our own wedding plans on hold and began to pour into them. Praying, hanging out, cooking and just encouraging them. They are here from Italy, newly married with no friends and just their mothers. They say they have been blessed to met us, but the blessing has been in us meeting them. Standing with them through chemo allowed us to see true love at its rarest form. (Unfortunately Kenny passed away on 06/21/2010 after a courageous battle)

We are now less then 4 months away from our wedding, so we are slowly getting back into the wedding swing.
Thanks for a great giveaway, and win or not, just wanted to share a bit about the man who changed my outlook on life, love and the future Shane A. Dixon. Have a great weekend.
Tracy Koweh"

CONGRATS again Tracy and Shane, enjoy your Robert Andrew Spa Gift.  Thank you for sharing and inspiring us.

To the rest of you out there, keep blogging and loving,
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Choosing Vendors For Your Wedding Day Pt 1.

Monday, July 5, 2010

So Happy 4th of July everyone.  I hope you all had fun bbquing, hanging out and watching the fireworks?  Well I had fun catching up with former brides turned friends and friends turned brides.  I know, I know.  Sometimes its hard to do business that way, but I have met some incredible people and I wouldn't trade the experience.  Anyhow, when we got together, we started talking about their weddings and the experience - emotions, vendors etc .  So forgive me people this is going to be a long 2 part blog post. 

So I was speaking to one of the brides and teasing about wedding photos because I hadn't seen any professional pictures yet, she looked at me and said matter of factly "If I had them, you would have seen them".  At that point we were no longer joking and I heard the pain of a person at a complete loss.  Mind you, her wedding was August 2008.  She said "I don't know what to do, I have called, emailed even left nasty grams and no response".  WOW!!!! "The only thing we have is an unedited CD we received a couple of months after the wedding and this is because we insisted on at least having some pictures so he gave us the raw CD".  Ok .... "My cousin doesn't have her pictures either and she got married a month after me" WHAT?!!!! "Yes this guy has 7 lawsuits pending against him for failure to deliver albums, videography etc and no one can seem to get a hold of him, he has changed his company name and is doing business as a completely different company ....."  Ok so at this point I am panicking, irate and livid.  You ask me why?  Well, I have a few brides this year who are going to be using this vendor.  Ok and why is that an issue for me?  It's called GUILTY by association.  Clients tend to associate vendors with each other based on the events that they do.  Case in point; I had a client who was at the very same wedding in August 2008  and she booked almost all of us, the same vendors - decor, photography, band  etc for her wedding which was in Sept 2009.  And guess what?  She and her friend who got married last year and booked this "photographer" don't have their wedding pictures yet.  

So, I am baffled and confused as to why this vendor is even still in business and why he doesn't have a big black X against his name and business name.  I know he is not the only vendor getting away with this and ruining people's wedding day memories but let's make it harder for vendors like these to give excellent vendors a bad name.

Well it boils down to 2 things: Vendor deceitfulness and client negligence.  And NO this is another Boston Law episode.  It is called uncontrollable and controllable variables.  With this particular vendor, he has found a way to deceive clients by showing up at major wedding shows and offering "Amazing deals" that sound too good to be true.  Yes everyone loves a bargain, but brides BEWARE.  If it sounds too good to be true, momma is right, it probably is.  Vendors like these have a "bait and switch" method.  They bait you with fantastic deals and then switch up on you, by either trying to add more to your bottom line cost or not delivering what they have promised.  They are constantly making excuses as to why they don't keep appointment times, why they can't provide you with basic things and they seem to always be MIA. 

These are uncontrollable factors as you can't do anything to affect them.  You can't take responsibility for an action you can't control or change.  However you can take control of your own actions and reactions.  You can arm yourself with information that would help you make better decisions and save yourself from the heartache these vendors cause.  And I'll provide tips on how to do this on the continuation post next week.

In the meantime, please share your thoughts, comments and stories. 
We want to hear from you,
See you on the blog,

Happy Blogging,
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Urban Chic Wedding

Friday, July 2, 2010

So, it's beginning of June and unseasonably hot this time of year in MD.  However we are completely excited about this beautiful wedding.  Cellina and Toks wanted something different and unique and that was our goal.

I loved their purple hues and geometric shapes.  Dotun, captured the beautiful details of the day and needless to say we are grateful to have been part of Cellina and Toks Urban chic wedding at the Baltimore Harbor.


@ Pier 5 Hotel

The Ceremony

 Beautiful Cellina

Isnt Love Grand?  Dotun, I love this SHOT of Cells and her man- Toks

Fabulous Bridesmaids (Lovn ALL the purples)

The Boat

More Purple LOVE

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